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.