How do we fail? Let me count the ways
- In the beginning, say the first Egyptian pyramid project, failure wasn't even talked about. If it happened, you just disappeared, and someone took your place -- properly incentivized not to repeat your experience
- Advance a few millenniums and we arrive at "Failure is Not an Option". In this model, something -- anything -- that yields a strategically successful outcome is acceptable. It need not look anything like the intended
- Advance a few decades and we get "You're allowed to fail" followed closely by "Fail early!". In this model risk is a recognized and accepted partner to innovation, although certain contributors are not acceptable: incompetence, laziness, and recklessness to name three. However, arrogance and eccentric behaviours are tolerated
- Now, in present time, we arrive at "Fail early; fail hard" which morphs to "Fail Upward!" which we learn is something of an art. It's even advanced to the point of having a blog stream on Medium and, separately, a conference to learn how fail with success (if that is not an oxymoron)
Indeed, we learn from essayist Kate Losse, these insights:
Thanks, in part, to a playlist of TED talks on the productivity of failure, the dictum to “fail harder, fail faster” is now being peddled in fields from scientific research to elementary education.Summary: Failure is an option!!
Consider recently published books like Stuart Firestein’s “Failure: Why Science Is So Successful” and Jessica Lahey’s “The Gift of Failure,” which argues that children today occupy such risk-scrubbed environments that opportunities for failure must be manufactured.
At AltSchool, in Silicon Valley, where pre-K tuition is $27,000 a year, modeling failure is part of the curriculum"
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