In Creativity, Mistakes Aren’t Mistakes—They’re Clues

Marty Neumeier has a good way of talking about failure. If you are serious about innovation we understand the need for failure. I am trying different ways to help my clients understand failure and how to talk about it. This is one of the ways.

In the realm of creativity, mistakes aren’t mistakes. They’re clues. Each one reveals a part of the mystery you’re trying to solve.

The fact is, if you already knew how to proceed with a project, you wouldn’t need creativity. You could just follow the recipe, read the manual, or tick the boxes. Creativity is the discipline you use when you don’t know the answers, when you’re traveling to parts unknown. On this type of journey, missteps are actually steps. Every mistake brings you closer to the solution.

But here’s the catch: You have to make bold mistakes. Smart mistakes. New mistakes. Because if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only get what you’ve already got. You have to try, fail, and learn. Then try something new, fail a different way, learn more.

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