Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Opportunity in Failures

Paul J.H. Schoemaker, research director of Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation has written a new book called Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure, where he describes a long list of inventions that were judged as mistakes by the conventional wisdom of the time, but eventually proved to be brilliant. Schoemaker analyzes decisions that are thought to be colossal mistakes by some, but may also have the opportunity to result in game-changing innovations.

Stephen J. Kobrin: “Brilliant mistakes” sounds like an oxymoron. How can a mistake be brilliant?

Paul J.H. Schoemaker: Well, if you learn more from the mistake than it cost you, it might actually become brilliant. But I recognize there’s a bit of a paradox in the book’s title.

A brilliant mistake is an action you take or a prediction you make that turns out to be wrong. This hurts you initially, but then it also opens up new vistas, and it may result in innovation and discovery. You start to see the world — or yourself — differently.

Learn more about the concept of “brilliant mistakes” HERE.


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