Embrace the mistakes

It’s all too common that we criticise ourselves as soon as we make the slightest mistake at work, and many live in constant fear of failure. But remember, it’s the mistakes, or the conscious mistakes, that give us strength and encourage us to grow, find new solutions, and create new life opportunities!

Personally, I want to see more people making mistakes. In times of major change, the future is uncertain to all of us. Nevertheless, our social structure is built on the future being predictable. We will make mistakes when the world is revolving this fast. I wish that all of us, society and the media, would stop looking for scapegoats whenever something goes wrong.

I am convinced that the fear of making mistakes is one of the major problems in, say, public administration and healthcare. We are taught from an early age that, to be a good person, we must “do the right thing”. People are commonly vilified in the press for the slightest slip-ups, which adds to the fear of making a mistake. It has almost reached the point where it’s better to do nothing at all than risk doing it wrong.

I mean, no one knows what the future holds. One example is the Covid-19 pandemic, in which we can only try to predict how the virus will evolve and how the vaccinations can be phased in. And in this situation, we are constantly facing problems that we did not anticipate, and someone must address these problems for the good of society. During these trying times, responsible politicians, authorities, and ordinary people alike must be given space to explore different paths to a solution.

No matter how established you are, failure is key in every innovative process. Daniel Burrus, world-leading technology forecaster and business strategist, has coined the phrase: “Fail fast to learn faster.” I would like to see a politician who truly embraces that notion and says: “We have this situation XX. I do not know what to do. But we must test YY, XY, and maybe ZY. We will see failures, but we must learn so that we can acquire new knowledge and so that we can truly understand the problem at hand.”

The Design Thinking method and our strategic dialogue tool are based on this principle of failing fast to learn faster: we test and try out different situations and scenarios as easily, quickly, and repeatedly as possible. By consciously entering a new situation or tackling a new problem by examining the most sustainable, affordable, and fast way of doing so, we find out how to best solve problem XX. Methodologically, it means thinking “I’m doing this now, and although the way to success may be full of pitfalls, I am making mistakes in order to learn, and in doing so, I limit the risks and costs. I choose this path instead of deciding on a solution in advance, which would mean spending a lot of time, resources, and money on what might end up being the wrong solution.”

Stay brave, friends! I challenge us all to try the noble art of making mistakes and focus on the type of learning that comes from adversity!

Have a productive day with several conscious mistakes.
Bjarte

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