What's The Value Of Failure?

Reporting failures in many organisations is something people would most often rather avoid. Nobody likes to fail after all.

However, we often learn more from the mistakes we make than our successes. Many successful people see failure as not only inevitable but crucial to their success. 

Let’s take a look at what makes a failure valuable.

Learning From Failures


Thomas Edison once said, “I make more mistakes than anyone I know. And eventually I patent them.” He was, of course, referring to his numerous attempts at creating his many inventions. He was so proud of his failures that he even saw his many failures when creating the lightbulb simply as the steps to creating it. 

All failures have the potential to result in lessons learned. Monster deems failures to be good for three particular reasons. They allow you to redirect your path, change the way you think, and give you a second chance at what you’re trying to achieve. So, failures are opportunities for growth and building resilience. 

There is also a concept that some failures are "better" than others. Failure is an inevitable part of progress, so what makes a failure good or bad? By knowing the difference, you can try to leverage your failures to your advantage.

"Good" vs. "Bad" Failures

All failures have potential, but a bad failure is one that does not drive a change. A good failure has two characteristics according to Google. It is one where you understand why you have failed and in doing so, gain knowledge you can apply to future endeavours. 

Failing “fast” or “early” makes a failure better as well. Improving sooner rather than later is always best.


Why Reporting Failures Is Key


Nobody enjoys failing but learning from failure can be valuable. For example, let’s consider incident reporting in the workplace. Reporting minor workplace incidents can help prevent more serious ones from occurring. Organisations need to ensure that they have systems that encourage issue reporting. 

Software solutions can be immensely helpful with analytics and in encouraging employee involvement. It’s important that the data you collect is specific. As such, employees need to be involved in reporting failures. This will make problem-solving much easier as you can better tailor the solutions to resolve the issues at hand.


Two Things To Consider Going Forward


When making decisions in your organisation, you need to weigh up the value of the potential failure and the cost of regret. 

If you do fail at something, what will you learn from it? How will it improve your efforts in the future? This is the value of failure. 

On the other hand, if you miss an opportunity, how much will you regret not seizing it or missing your chance? This will help you decide whether taking a chance is worth it even if you were to fail.


Final Thoughts


Simply put, the value of failure is the value of the change that it drives. We’ve seen how failures can be immensely helpful to organisations. Some might go as far as saying failure should be encouraged!

After all, wouldn’t you rather fail and improve than play it too safe and stagnate?

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We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at

Incident Reporting Learning from Failure

Arttu Vesterinen

Chief Executive Officer