A girls’ school in England is planning on having all of their students fail. As the BBC writes, the idea behind the “Failure Week” is to encourage the students to be less risk adverse and to understand that failing at trying something new is just as important as succeeding in something you’ve already mastered.

I think this is great for the students, especially as it comes with the imprimatur of the school authorities themselves. It really embraces the critical concept that we learn by failure. This is certainly a concept that business leaders take to heart and the connection there is that the entrepreneurial spirit requires one to be more reward-seeking than risk-adverse. It is also central to iterative, creative design thinking. As Tom Kelley of IDEO put it “Fail often to succeed sooner.”

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford

There is no failure. Only feedback. ~Robert Allen

Here’s J. K. Rowling, speaking at the Harvard commencement, on failure. And philosopher Alain de Botton on a “kindler, gentler” view of success – one that acknowledges the crucial role of failure.

So, kudos to this British school for embracing failure. I hope they succeed in spreading this perspective in schools around the world.



(If you are looking for information about the Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle “Failure to Launch”, please back away from the keyboard and step outside for some fresh air.)