Most attempts to create or innovate fall short of the goal they set out to achieve. But this doesn’t mean they failed. Nor does “fail fast” actually mean a full-stop fail.
Though such attempts may not lead to the next poem or startup, they leave a residue that can carry over into the next effort.
Capturing creative failure residue was a key component of success during my time as an MFA student in creative writing. Exercises were not intended to lead to polished poems; they were designed to turn walls into doors.
It was up to us to remember the doors and the processes that led to their creation so we could take the steps necessary to open them, see where they led, and build new ones.
The same can be said of the exercises during my time as an Executive MBA student. While often positioned as opposites, I’ve experienced fascinating parallels between the MFA and MBA programs.
They both involve surveying a field, self-reflection, taking creative risks, and then capturing the residue from those risks to build something better.