Learning to Fail

April 11th, 2019

I’ll just say it. Our initial idea was crap.

One of our clients came to us with a specific but challenging problem. So we came up with an innovative solution, as we always do. Only this one was crappy. We just didn’t know it at first.

Shortly after building the first prototype to fix our client’s problem, a different client of ours came by for a meeting. We’ve always got fun stuff happening in our shop and this client was poking around before the meeting started. She walked over to this new product prototype we had just created and promptly did what, in retrospect, we realized pretty much anyone encountering the product for the first time would do. And she immediately broke it! The very first interaction, what we’d now expect 99% of users to do on the first time they encounter this thing, just broke our new prototype.

Was I angry? Absolutely not; I was ecstatic! Witnessing this action from across the room immediately showed me that we had failed in our prototyping process, and gave me an immediate idea as to how to improve the product.

Had we not experienced this failure in our design, we would have moved forward with production on the flawed prototype. That would have been a costly mistake to fix down the road.

It was a good reminder to fail early, fail often.

Just don’t fail to learn and improve upon those mistakes.

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