The secret to winning: Failure

Posted on September 2, 2011


Rolling Tacos. The Anti Plastic Cheezy Scuba Bubs. Hydrophobic Fishies.

Creative team names are just the tip of the innovative ice berg at The Tech Museum in San Jose, California.

Last April, more than 1,000 students in grades 5-12 designed and built solutions to rid the oceans of trash without harming sea life. Armed with big ideas, students came from far and wide. One pair of brothers traveled from India to compete.

Besides teamwork and problem-solving skills, students learned one of life’s most valuable lessons. I think a student in The Tech Challenge 2011 video said it best, when responding to the question: What advice would you give future teams on how to win it all? She responded,

 “Fail. Because if you don’t fail, you can’t win.” 

With that advice in mind, I congratulate all of the teams — especially those that earned the Most Spectacular Failure awards. Perhaps they are the ones to watch in the April 2012 challenge to help earthquake survivors, called Shake, Rattle and Rescue. (Registration is now open!)

The Tellabs Foundation will support the 2012 event, marking our third year of support. We value good educational opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It’s exactly what tomorrow’s engineers are looking for.