What do potato chips, Post-It Notes, pacemakers, penicillin, and Silly Putty all have in common?

They were all created by making mistakes. In fact, in each case, the inventor was attempting to create something completely different and thought that he had failed with the final product. Of course, as decades have gone by and profits have been made, the benefit of hindsight tells us that these so-called failures were actually triumphs. It’s like that old adage about Thomas Edison and the light bulb: When questioned on his many failures, he retorted that he hadn’t failed 10,000 times, but succeeded in finding 10,000 methods that wouldn’t work.

Failure, mistakes, mishaps — they all play a vital role in helping employees learn and grow, too. Unfortunately, however, organizations penalize mistakes and create employees that are risk-averse and too shy or nervous to try anything new. A recipe for stagnation, the best companies are those that encourage failure, embrace out-of-the-box thinking, and allow employees to make mistakes and see what happens.

Your brain actually expands on failure

Something interesting happens to the brain when you make a mistake. According to a report in published in Scientific American, your brain begins compiling information about the experience and actually gets bigger throughout the learning scenario. And, while the brain returns to close to its original size after the learning experience, it retains new neural pathways by taking in new information, compiling the key takeaways from trial and error. Making mistakes matures the brain, resulting in more efficient synapses and fundamentally altered neurons. In short, failure can actually make you smarter.

Leadership must encourage mistakes

Yes, this might sound crazy at first, but our leadership team embraces this mentality at my company, eLearning Mind. What we’ve found is by embracing mistakes, it gives employees the confidence to try new things and Read More Here