The Joy of Failing | Driving Eureka! #21


The feature story this week speaks of how much fun it is to fail.  Yes you read that right.  It’s abut the Joy of Failing.

The book segment is about how Passion gives you the energy to push the edges. 

The Brain Brew Whiskey Academy discusses the importance experimentation failures when it comes to driving success.

To go DEEPER on any of the articles - listen to the companion DRIVING EUREKA! Podcast.



Newsletter 21 Key Image

The JOY of Failing

This past week I’ve been pushing myself to new levels of failure. I’m not talking polite “excuse me” failures I’m talking about down right UGH that didn’t work. 

In some cases they were public failures  - messing up the cooking of a meal - making mistakes on some math - not saying the right things at the right time. In other cases they were private mistakes that I came to realize privately.

Years ago these types of failures would have infected my mind. I would have played the “could of, should of” game of mental torture with myself. I would have relived my failures over and over again. I would have spent most of the weekend dealing with my past week rather then living in the current moment.

Today - I make it a point to view failure in the framework of the Deming Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle of learning. I simply Study what I learned and take action. I don’t dwell on it - but rather see the failure as simply a cycle of learning.

When I see failure as learning I enjoy the failure. Often it ignites within me an energy to do another test cycle as fast as I can. Note - when I’m talking a learning cycle I’m talking about situations where I am failing in situations where I have systems in place that allow me to fail FAST and CHEAP. What I’m not talking about is epic, major failures with high cost. In my life I go to great lengths to avoid those kind of situations. I’ve learned that every HIGH COST risk can be broken down into a series of Fast & Cheap experiments that can drive down the overall risk.

I’ve gotten very good at letting go of failures. What I need to work on is doing the same Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle when things to right. When things work I need to stop and THINK harder about why they worked, what was the key to the success.

When I look at failure as a cycle of learning I generate joy from the failure instead of fear. Frankly, it’s the secret to my work over the past 40 years inventing ideas during Eureka! Inventing sessions for clients. I love creating bad ideas - as fast as possible. I know that the faster I create bad ideas the sooner I’m going to discover an amazing transformational WOW Idea.


Click HERE to learn more about the online personal workspace for thinking bigger, bolder, faster,  and smarter created by my team at Eureka! Ranch - that allows you to Fail Fast & Cheap.




Driving Eureka! Book Excerpt
The Power of Passion 

The Driving Eureka! Book describes the Yellow Card™ system for persuasively communicating innovation ideas. A small but important part of it is articulating why we are passionate about the idea.  

Passion: This is a statement of higher-order purpose. It gives clarity on why you care enough about this idea to dig into patents, do problem solving, and to address Death Threats no matter how painful they appear to be. It is your intrinsic motivation for the journey. This is Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge Point 3: Psychology. 

Passion is what enables us to embrace the uncertainty that comes with ideas that are Meaningfully Unique. Argentinian Chef Francis Mallmann defined the importance of embracing uncertainty:

“My life has been a path at the edge of uncertainty. Today I think we educate kids to be settled in a comfortable chair. You have your job, you have your little car, you have a place to sleep, and the dreams are dead. You don’t grow on a secure path. All of us should conquer something in life. And it needs a lot of work. In order to grow and to improve, you have to be there at the edge of uncertainty.”





Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy:
Enjoying 12 Failures

This past week the Brain Brew Crew worked with the Eureka! Ranch statistics team to devise a testing matrix where they could run 12 whiskies instead of 257 to map the edges of what is possible on a new product they are creating.

All 12 products were failures as whiskies. AND, all 12 products were invaluable successes when it comes to growing our understanding of the relationship between whiskey and wood. Some of the trials came out totally different than we expected.  The result is a new and deeper understanding of the art and science of whiskey making. 

And yes - it was massively FUN to experience these 12 failures. I can’t wait till the next round!

That my friends is how you go from ok, to good, to great to incredibly awesome!

So what are you waiting for - get up, get out and FAIL FEARLESSLY!


This is from the legendary Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s what happens if a Sazarac and a Gold Rush were to cross pollinate.


1.5 oz Paddlewheel Bourbon
1 tsp Absinthe
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice


Step 1: Add ice to a glass as well as all the ingredients.
Step 2: Stir.
Step 3: Strain into a martini glass.



The Driving Eureka! Podcast

Our goal is to help you, "find, filter and fast track BIG IDEAS."Driving_Eureka_podcast_image

Come and join us. We will teach how to build a business or innovate in an existing organization using the Driving Eureka! book and a whole series of education programs.



Doug Hall

The Driving Eureka! Newsletter is a compilation of case studies, new techniques, thought provoking insights, an occasional rant, and excerpts from my books 



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