Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scott Berkun on learning from mistakes

While working on The Mistake Bank, I found this essay by Scott Berkun, author of books like "The Myths of Innovation." Upon reading it, I was struck by how well-articulated his arguments are and how closely his thinking relates to what we're trying to do with The Mistake Bank.

It starts off like this:

You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As soon as you start blaming other people (or the universe itself) you distance yourself from any possible lesson. But if you courageously stand up and honestly say “This is my mistake and I am responsible” the possibilities for learning will move towards you. Admission of a mistake, even if only privately to yourself, makes learning possible by moving the focus away from blame assignment and towards understanding. Wise people admit their mistakes easily. They know progress accelerates when they do.

And there's lots more. The section entitled "How to Handle Complex Mistakes" is particularly relevant--as is his discussion on the importance of keeping a sense of humor about yourself. Please give Scott's essay a read, and please visit The Mistake Bank to see some stories and create some yourself!

Announcing The Mistake Bank
Mistake Bank #12 - Don't Forget About Support!
Great Innovation Requires...Acceptance of Mistakes
Learning From Mistakes, Part 72

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