Recap - Failure In Five

Feb 26 2015 - 11:16pm

It turns out that talking about failure can be a pretty inspirational experience.  Over 60 attendees pilled into People of Resource's Atlanta studio for six rapid-fire presentations about how failing at something isn't so bad after all.


Here's what our amazing panel of presenters had to say about the subject! 

Brad Reese (Design Manager @ Kids II) designs for babies all day long - a group of humans with a great deal of unique needs.  He shared how he has incorporated the concept of "Poka-Yoke" into his development process. Poka-Yoke is a Japanese term that means 'mistake-proofing'.  How can designers make products that can't be used incorrectly?  How can we overcome our own personal bias to reframe products so they solve a real need, rather than just being status quo?

Meaghan Kennedy (Founder & Principle Strategist @ Orange Sparkle Ball) wondered if we can become immobilized because of failure…and the fear that surrounds it.  And who is it that gets to define failure for all of us in the first place?  If new start-up mentality is built around failing quick and early, does that mean that projects are only successful if failure is part of the development process?

Michael Gluzman (Design Manager @ Coca-Cola) taught us about the "F" word.  Yea, that four letter "F" word.  Telling stories that spanned childhood to present times, Michael also shared how being mindful and designing thoughtfully are the best ways to not let failure prevail.  "You can't win em all," he said…"but there is ALWAYS a round 2."

Mihai Hogea (Industrial Designer @ Thrive) likened failure to a bottle overflowing with liquid.  He urged designers to 'empty our bottles' so that we can take in new experiences and information.  Walking around without any way to absorb the world around us is a sure way to invite failure into your life…or worse, block out valuable feedback.

Ryan Novak (Epidemiologist @ Centers for Disease Control (CDC)) deals with problems on a global scale for a living.  He questioned how we could avoid failure all together.  If, by partnering with others, could we anticipate and plan a course of action necessary for a successful outcome?  At the same time, he posed the idea of 'failure loops'…situations where failure to act keeps a positive breakthrough from reaching the surface.

Sophia Voychehovski (UX & Strategy Consultant @ ReWired) cleverly wove pieces from all the presentations before her into a story that wondered how we could redefine failure as a starting point rather than an end.  She closed out the evening by simply stating, "Not even trying is a failure."