Nick Milton writes for Knoco stories about the difference between mistakes and failures and how we can meet success by learning from failure.

There are therefore four categories when it comes to learning from failure.

1) There is learning from a failure when trying the unknown. You were trying something new, and met an unexpected barrier. This was not your fault – this was part of the exploration process. It was a justified error. You gained new knowledge, and need not only to learn from this, but to spread the learning to others who are also exploring the same area.

2) There is learning from planned failure. Sometimes you plan to fail. This is often the best way to explore a new product or process – try many things at one and select the one that does not fail. Create prototypes, plan pilots in as fail-safe an environment as you can. Deliberately try many things knowing that some will fail, and use this as a selection process to find the right path. This “trial and error”. This was Edison’s approach, and is often the smartest way to learning your way forward. As Dave Kelly, CEO of IDEO, said – “Enlightened trial and error out-performs the planning of flawless intellects”

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