Failure is especially frowned upon in Singapore - in local schools, for instance, failure is seen as the result of a lack of completion, of something not done properly. It places pressure on our students and our workforce, and the negative connotation it has results in unhappiness.
In our studio, we operate otherwise - a good design process enables spaces where we look forward to failure constantly, even to the point of designing purposefully for it. Failures define our limits and techniques; it quickly tells us what we should avoid doing in the future, and informs us of the requirements that we may have missed. We see the gaps in our knowledge much faster, and we tighten our specifications much better this way, as opposed to if we’re attempting to circumvent failure entirely.
To aim for failure should be a basic goal of every designer. We need to know that not only is it OK to fail, but that we in fact need to allocate space and time in order to look for failure on purpose. We need to design for failure, iteration upon iteration, and learn from what failed in previous iterations. With failure, we become better, humbler, stronger designers, and that makes all the difference.
Photograph courtesy of Khoirul Zainal.
P.S.: You’re awesome, and we all miss you!