Skip to main content

Let's Talk About Failure

Lesson 20 from: Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking

Sally Dominguez

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

20. Let's Talk About Failure

Next Lesson: When to Use a Lens

Lesson Info

Let's Talk About Failure

We begin talking about failure as an essential part of this mindset. We need to really not care about most of the stuff. It's actually very liberating. Once you realize how much you really don't care about. And that's not, I don't care. You have care for a lot of stuff, right? But you're not worried about consequences. You're not worried to try something new. Which means you've somehow built an infrastructure that supports you. You've come up with a way of celebrating the failure as progress and moving forward. You're understanding that failing is a growth mindset. And you're understanding that you can't really create. I mean, you think of Edison and Picasso. And absolutely every person who had so many so called failures, in that the thing didn't work. Or what they learned from it led them to huge discoveries. And of course we know that we can remind our failure. Most of all we know that we need to relabel failure as a rebound. So, we look at it as an essential part of our process of c...

reativity. That we try something new and if it doesn't work we have so much, especially if we debrief with others. We can take it apart. Look at the mess on the floor, a bit like Humpty Dumpty. We can put it together again, but now Humpty's gonna look slightly cooler than he did before. Cause we've learned a whole lot of cool stuff about how to put him together. So, a key part of that fail is moving forward. And in many ways, particularly in the work place, but also in the family, it comes with leadership. Like it's cool for Oprah to say, "Think like a queen." Right? Because Oprah is basically a queen. I want to say that she always said think like a queen, although I don't know whether she was coming up through the lower levels. You wouldn't be thinking like a queen, right? It's hard to think like a queen if you're like the underling, like in the accordion system. Or maybe the jester down the bottom. Or like the servant bringing the food. But it's crucial that anyone in a position of leadership is saying to everybody else, we're not afraid to fail, neither should you be. It's so important because time and time again when I go into companies and talk to them about this amazing, creativity mindset. This 10% of time they could be trying stuff, understanding they'll probably fail, but moving the game so much more further forward. Helping a company grow, because they're growing at the same time. A number of times I go in and invigorate the masses, only to have it glass ceilinged by leadership. Cause leadership weren't at the workshop. Or leadership have a vision, and it doesn't necessarily include failure. They'll always say, "Oh, feel free to fail". But the side bit is, "But not on our time or money". So, how do you make failure a part of the language? And how do you build it in, so that everyone below you, whether it's your kid's or whether it's your friends. They're not below you. Neither are your kids really, but you know what I'm saying. If you're in a position where you're older, or you've led more, or you're leading a team, isn't it on you to show firsthand how you failed. How you rebounded. And use it as a lesson. Like imagine if you're reporting. If you were doing a progress report... What do you call that thing when you're in the workplace and they have a monthly report? Performance review. Imagine if, for your performance review, you had to write all the things you'd tried that failed, in a certain given period. Or imagine if students at tertiary level, or school, had to write, before the teacher did their report, which is results based. Imagine if the students had to write, this is all the stuff I've tried this term and this is all the stuff that didn't work. How instructive that would be for everybody else, but mainly for themselves. And I say this from firsthand experience. Cause I did a podcast with a guy Rey Castellanos last year. He has a podcast series called We Fail Forward. And I heard from my mate, Navi Radjou, who's a frugal innovator. He's the guy. We're gonna talk a lot about frugal innovation in a separate lesson. But I heard from Navi that I had to talk to Rey. He did this hour long interview on failure and the benefits of it. But Rey said in order for me to go his show I had to write my CV of failure. Not only that, but then I had to send it to him to publish. I was like, what? I thought wow, that's pretty confronting. Didn't like the idea, and went eh, this could be fun. So, embracing the inevitable failure that comes with writing a CV of failure. I sat down and started at high school. Right? All the stuff I'd failed. Always came third in my running races, from there onwards. Right? Wasn't a pretty thing, on I went. Started writing it. About 10 minutes in I was so fully, deeply embedded in this thing. I was like, "Oh, this is so funny". And I'm cackling. And I'm writing away going I've killed so many businesses. (typing noise) I've done so many designs that were like epic fails. You know? Dan, you would relate to this, epic fails man. Massive design stuff, career stuff. I mean, one of the biggest epic fails I identified at the time was that I made my family move to the USA. Just before the recession. We lost all our money. It was pretty epic. I had a great career in Australia. I moved to the USA. It was huge. Do I regret it? Hell no. I do not. But it was, as far as career fails go, massive and all encompassing, ya know? So anyway, I write the CV of failure. I send it to my kids. I'm like, teenagers I've just written this. Actually cracked me up. I guess you should see it. I mean I guess I haven't really told you about any of this stuff. So then my kids call me and go, "Oh, that's the funniest "thing I've ever read. I'm sharing it with my friends." And I went (gasping). So then I send it to my sister who's fourteen years younger and who is extremely... She's extremely corporate and a total go-getter and genius. I sent it to her. I went, "I did this. It was really hard, "but it was worth it." And she goes, "Oh, I've just shared that "with all my co-worker's. That's just the "coolest thing I've ever read." And I'm like (loud scream). So by the time it came for him to publish it I'm like, you know what, just rock my world. You publish it. Do it. And what I learned from that is, it is amazingly freeing to write a CV of failure and everyone should do it. Everyone should do it. And more than that. They should share it with their kid's. They should share it with their team. Share it with anyone who wants to read it. Because if we start sharing those stories of epic fail, it is amazing how contagious that can be. People start opening up and going, oh well let me snap you on that one because I did this. Right. I had class a little while ago where people were sharing some really massive. One guy just took a company down with a wrong move. You know, he wasn't laughing about it. You don't have to laugh about it. We're not disparaging these failures. What we're doing is letting people know you're where you are. And yeah. You know, and could you have been where you are, if you hadn't had those crazy fails. So interesting. So one of the worksheets that you can download if you are in this class right now, or if you buy this class, is the Failure as Rebound. It's pretty simple. I just tried to make the worksheet's to make it even simpler. But, basically it's the idear of writing down some heroic fails. And then doing a little personal debrief. How did I rebound? Like, did I rebound? Or am I still in the second stage of grief? You know? I failed like crazy. Did I learn anything? You know what, you don't have to actually think up what I learned from it on the spot. But as you're writing down the fail, can be really instructive. Cause so often when we fail, we cannot wait to leave that thing behind. We don't want to think about it. We don't want to debrief on it. We just want to run away from that thing. You think about these people at the medical research company I was talking about, who spend like 8 million dollars in five years trying to develop a new drug. Only to have it completely fail at testing stage. Right? But if you write it down and break it into its bits, you can rebound off those, you can remind them later. It's a super, super valuable document. And as a team, debriefing on a fail is epic. You gotta do it. Even the little ones. So that's a useful thing. And here I have, just to end our thinking for the day. Cause I feel like within a day, we have activated curiosity. We have activated that mindset. We gotta see where it's gonna go. This is another one from Buckminster Fuller. Talking about process versus results. Talking about how we value these results, this knowledge, expertise, stuff we already know over the process of exploration and possibility. And how in fact we should be giving the top marks to people who are trying new stuff. Heroically trying new stuff. You know, asking why, looking at stuff in a different light, failing, and going on. These are the people that are bringing us growth. These are the people who you see visible growth on, right? You see them trying all this stuff, branching out, and flourishing. That's how we wanna be. So the struggle is how do we do, in a society that's asking us for results, that's basing its academic stuff, its employing stuff. Everything on results. How do we get people to value experiencing process, and understand that that is where consistently innovative thinking is lying. Where the people that are trying new stuff, failing it forward, laughing, getting back up, sharing it with everyone and going woo, and hitting it again. So, I hope you're feeling exhilarated, a little bit tired, and slightly activated.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Creativity Quiz Worksheet
Rebound Worksheet
Core Value Worksheet
Innovation Quadrant Worksheet
Which Lens Worksheet
Backcasting Worksheet

Free Bonus Material

Adobe Stock Get Started Download

Ratings and Reviews

Ivana Vucinic

This class is truly AMAZING! It is really unique and it got me thinking in new and innovative ways. Very much out of the box thinking! Makes you become courageous, Well done, Sally!!!

Sukey Dominguez

Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking exceeded my expectations! Sally brought practical tools that, "lenses" to flip every situation inside out and find the possibilities in every situation. As one who works to lead teams, healthcare providers facing incredible demands to achieve results in population health / ultimately global health and the wellness of business operations, I'm thrilled to have found this course. Design is one thing, taking risk is another. I'm inspired by Sally because she drives energy to see what CAN be in the future. This is a unique class and I look forward to her next offering.

Student Work