Monday, April 9, 2018

Dr. Faulkner: Mistakes

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  John Powell
“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”  Winston Churchill

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas Edison

Often we view those that are successful as always being perfect and never having made a mistake.  Even wildly successful persons and enterprises have mistakes in their history.  Look at the uber-successful company Pixar.  We are all familiar with their top grossing films like the now 20 year old Toy Story or Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Cars.  What we have not been aware of are the stops and starts that led to those blockbusters.

Pixar has just taken the unprecedented step of releasing a video of their failures.  You can find their Scrapped Ideas video on YouTube

Why would any company, let alone the premier animation studio in America, release a video about their failures?  Perhaps they are reminding us that the creative process is often a messy one.  Perhaps they are reminding us of the truth from the quotes above.  Mistakes will be made but we must learn from and build upon our mistakes.

That can only happen in a culture that gives people permission to explore and make mistakes.  A culture that punishes creative mistakes causes people to hide their failures, not to learn from them.

From the Harvard Business Review  we learn that Pixar operates on three principles: 

1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone.
2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.

Where could we as a Vol State community go if we embraced these principals and applied them across our campuses?  What if we felt safe being creative and taking risks?  What if we learned from our mistakes?

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