Chapter 5 – Error

Error. Good ideas often come from mistakes. If you can’t think of a single example of this, you clearly haven’t been working in product development long. Mistakes are essential for the creation of new ideas.

Johnson’s chapter on error is filled with anecdotes of this happening throughout history. Perhaps the best example was when a scientist named Alexander Fleming was careless with his experiments and inadvertently stumbled upon something called penicillin.

Discoveries that paved the way for the vacuum tube, the telephone, and the television all came from mistakes, errors, confused researchers, or all of the above.

The major take-away here is this: don’t try so hard to avoid mistakes.

Error might not be something you aim for intentionally – carelessness can royally F up experiments and waste a lot of time – but it can also spawn innovation. This chapter will dive deep into this theory.