Fail Early and Fail Often

This week’s guest speaker was from EarthSense, which is a start-up on U of I’s Research Park, and he shared his process of designing a prototype. I was intrigued by his acceptance–and even welcoming–of failure. Personally, when I fail, I am very hard on myself and tend to give up. However, the presentation made me realize that failure is critical to the design process.

EarthSense presenting on the design process.

One piece of advice we were given is to “Fail Early, and Fail Often.” The sooner you fail, the quicker you can alter your product. The more often you fail, the better your product will be because with every failure, you can improve your product even more. I can relate to this because I am pursuing a career in Market Research. Thus, I have to connect with the consumer and understand their preferences and may have to alter products based on consumer feedback.

The second half of class this week was spent creating a logo for our teams. My team named ourselves Solestice, as we are creating a tread to attach to the bottom of shoes that facilitate walking on snow and ice. We 3D printed a logo, which you can see in the picture below.

3D printing our logo in class.
Solestice logo.

In addition to class this week, my team conducted some secondary research to see what other products are on the market related to treads for ice and snow. I found an article that describes the Top 10 Best Traction Cleats for Snow and Ice. I realized that there are some products similar to what we wanted to create. However, to differentiate from these products, we will create treads that also have a soft sole in order to increase comfort when walking for prosthetic users. I am excited to start designing a prototype of of tread!

2 Replies to “Fail Early and Fail Often”

  1. Hi Emma,

    I was also very surprised by our guest speaker’s welcoming of failure! As someone who dislikes failing and dwells on it for a long time if it happens, I could not understand how he could be so welcoming of it. I could understand embracing the failure in order to learn from it, but to be honest, I don’t think I can still go to the extent of welcoming it. However, I think what is important is to analyze the failure to gain an understanding of what worked and didn’t work and then reiterate it to make improvements. I found this article ( to be really helpful in the sense that it goes further in depth about learning from failure. It talks about different types of failures and some tactics to learn from them. I really recommend you to read it and use the ideas throughout the project!

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