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Patricia commented on Smart Failure

Hi Tom,

I would LOVE to see more of these values expressed to our youth. Most of our generation grew up with the typical "red ink" paradigms and yet have still somehow managed to be incredible creators and innovators. So can you imagine what the next generations can do if they learn from the outset to set aside fear of failure? The prospect is very exciting.

Just wanted to share some thoughts from an opportunity I had to run media workshops with children in urban slums in Kampala, Uganda with a very similar design. The idea was to empower young people growing up in routinely marginalized parts of society to learn to vocalize their ideas for change in their communities. These youngsters were far more aware of the corruption and crime in their communities than I had expected. We used a similar "dot vote" method. One challenge with this method was the way the group social dynamics influenced the voting. Children unsure of their own opinions were afraid not to vote for the "popular" guy's ideas. Perhaps a bit more anonymity in our voting would have helped.

Another helpful tool was an "all-skate" warm-up. When we played a local game that all the kids loved and required everyone to participate, we found that we could carry this playful attitude into our other activities. In the end, I was impressed by the initiative many of the kids took in producing films about their ideas for their communities.

Looking forward to seeing what you learn. Keep it up ;)


Patricia commented on Smart Failure

That's true. In fact, the opposite may be a challenge. There are some parents who (with good albeit misguided intentions) will expect nothing but success from their children. Perhaps for these tough critics, it may be helpful to send home a little well-crafted summary of the project that points to the research showing that learning how to fail does actually lead to "success" (creativity, innovation, daring to try new things etc.) so that you might be able to persuade even the "success only" parents to embrace failure.