Should More Engineers be Celebrating Failure?

April 25, 2016  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on Should More Engineers be Celebrating Failure?

We’ve been particularly fascinated to read this recent story, investigating a TED Talk that looks into the potential benefits of celebrating failure – and not just any failure, but specifically the ‘failure to foster innovation’, something that you might think would be a top priority for anybody involved in the fast-paced engineering world.

The talk comes from Astro Teller, the man who works at ‘X’ or, as he calls it, the moonshot factory. This is also where he’s learned exactly how much value failure can bring, and how it sits at an important position on the path to success.

In engineering, or any creative pursuit, some failure is absolutely inevitable: you simply can’t get around the fact that, when you’re trying to do something new it might not always work. And, as Teller mentions in his talk, the drive behind his moonshot factory is allowing creative thinkers and engineers to ‘dream up technologies that we hope could make the world a better place’… and to ‘keep dreaming’.

Of course, the thing about dreams is that they can’t always come true: by investigating the ones that fail, they begin to find ways of making those lucky few visions come true. More than that, they will actively try to discover and exploit the flaws of their projects, setting them up for failure – and learning from the results.

So what we’re wondering is, should this type of thinking be injected into more upcoming engineering projects and developing engineering teams? If we think of it as a kind of stress-testing for ideas, then it seems absolutely clear that celebrating failure as a stepping stone on the way to that final, workable idea could be an enormous benefit.

After all, when you’re trying to find a solution to a problem, you only need to fine one that actually works. All those failed attempts become learning processes – certainly not a waste of time, but rather a way of uncovering knowledge that used to be hidden, something which lies at the very heart of engineering!

On a more practical level, looking for ways to ‘kill your project’ can ensure that there are no undiscovered safety issues or fatal flaws that could cause a problem once you push forward into the next stages of creating your design.

Here at Ascot Cable, we may specialise in providing high quality cabling solutions, such as highly durable SWA cable, however we also know the importance of understanding your project as a whole: keep following our blog for more engineering tips and insider information, or contact us today to find out more about our products.

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