Why it’s great to fail

Andy Milsom, Founder and Creative Director
28 July 2017

Most of us have a fear of failure.

As a creative I’ve spent the best past of the last 20 years fearing failure…

What if the client doesn’t like this layout? What if this idea flops? What if users don’t download the app? I don’t like what I’ve created!

After all it’s a natural thought process for someone who is striving to create the best work they can.

But making mistakes isn’t a problem, in fact it’s an integral part of the creative process.

The problem is not failure itself, rather fearing failure. A fear of failing stifles creativity & innovation. You become afraid of trying new ideas in case they don’t work, often playing it safe rather than risking making mistakes. They reality is that if you’re not failing, you’re not going to innovate. It’s important to understand that failure is part of the creative process, embrace it, learn from it and use it to your advantage.

Often we’re tasked by clients to come up with a number of ways to solve a user experience problem. Some of these ideas will work, others won’t. Don’t get worried about your ideas not working, it’s part of the process. Without trying out a number of ideas and throwing away a whole bunch of them we would have kept the status quo and not found the best ways to improve & optimise the experience. If you’re coming up with ideas and testing them correctly you’ll probably find that 80-90% of the work you do for a client falls into the category of UX debt, in that it gets thrown away at some point. Sure, it can be sometimes difficult to educate people that this is actually money well spent, however by setting up the right user or A/B tests and measuring performance you can use failure to your advantage to produce even better outcomes.

So don’t fear it, embrace it. Set yourself up to fail and your projects will improve.