Why Failure is a Prerequisite to Learning

“Failure is a prerequisite to learning.”

Counterintuitive, right? Not according to The Lean Startup, where this outlook on failure is integral. As this methodology, which focuses on failing fast, failing often and failing forward, gains acceptance across the country, it increasingly shapes product development and drives startup growth.

Still, converting the fear of failure into a compelling force for further innovation demands a significant shift in thinking.                                          

Eric Schweikardt, founder and CEO of Modular Robotics, which creates robotic construction tool kits for kids, has embraced the power of failure through his individual experiences – so much so that he posted the “fail early, fail often” principle in the company’s offices and builds it into every company product.

“I only get middling results from hearing other people’s stories,” Schweikardt said. “It’s executing on ideas, marshalling a team, figuring out what’s necessary and failing forward on all of those ideas that are the hard part. It’s an extremely powerful way to help people succeed: to give them the tools and the context to solve problems on their own.”