Whatterz


How to Learn from Failure

by Simon. Average Reading Time: less than a minute.

Too often we assume that a failed experiment is a wasted effort. But not all anomalies are useless.

  • Check your assumptions
    Ask yourself why this result feels like a failure. What theory does this contradict? Maybe the hypothesis failed, not the experiment.
  • Seek out the ignorant
    Talk to people who are unfamiliar with your experiment. Explaining your work in simple terms may help you see it in a new light.
  • Beware of failure blindness
    It’s normal to filter out information that contradicts our preconceptions. The only way to avoid that bias is to be aware of it.
  • Encourage diversity
    If everyone working on a problem speaks the same language, then everyone has the same set of assumptions.

Excerpt from February’s UK edition of Wired.

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