Why failure can be better than perfection

Tue, 24/10/2017 - 09:49


Why failure can be better than perfection

Confusion, failure, and mistakes are so important in the process. And we need to embrace it.

Make an idiot out of yourself (at least once a day)
This might feel like a tough ask, but think about how we’ve learned everything we know to this day, both globally and personally. In my professional experience, I have had unusual projects come my way, which I have said yes to with absolutely no understanding of how I would get it done. And now, looking back, I have no idea of how I actually got it done. But the process felt wonderful. Learning, failing, solving and ending up with an exhausted but bright-eyed achievement still lingers long afterwards. And I miss that feeling as soon as I choose the safe option.

In a time when phrases like “best practice” can be heard around the agency, that is the real thing we should be fearing.

If no one hates it, no one loves it
Engagement is all the rage, right? But to start conversations and cause people to actually feel something about your ideas, you can’t expect to use safe and time-tested messaging. And just because work is hated by some, that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Think way back to the reveal of the 2012 London Olympics logo. The hatred that was felt by the public was well publicised before the games started. However, by the time of the opening ceremony, the tide had turned and it had become beloved. This change in logo went on to inspire many. And like Honda so famously proved, “Hate can be good”.

Embrace impossible ideas
The fear we have of failing can easily be pushed on clients who don’t know we want something fearless. I’ve always wished I could’ve been in the room when ideas like this for Marmite were pitched. We need to believe that brands want to take these risks with us and experience the learnings and exhilaration of going forward without fear. Risk and reward should be taken together and initial reservations can hold back anything amazing.

A good idea has no borders
With all the tech available to us today, we have to realise that an idea is only small because we stop at we have done before. Case studies online that are meant to inspire do the opposite and halt us in our tracks, making us think that’s how far an idea can go. Build larger, more far-reaching ideas before we think to ourselves, “Wait . . . can this actually be done?” Chances are, it can. And if it can’t, remember that everything needs constant improvement anyway. What if Adobe had stopped at Photoshop 1?

A rake in the face is a good way to wake up to what’s around you
The one time I can say I disagree with Yoda is that there is not anything as simple as “do” or “do not” when it comes to creating. But there is a hell of a lot of “try”. And with that, comes a hell of a lot of failing.

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