The importance of failure, and our willingness to engage with it, is important. With my interest in creativity, failure is something I have been interested in. Scholars of creativity have long recognized that a key to innovation s a willingness to try new things, and even fail; then learn and continue to refine our work. The fear of failure prevents us from trying new things. It prevents us from learning from mistakes, failures, or errors without judgment. When we succeed, we pat ourselves on the back and move on. But when we fail we have to pause, consider what occurred, regroup, and continue to try new things and improve. In short, we learn. Success is a wonderful thing and we all love to have it. Yet in educational terms, let’s not be so unwilling to fail, or quick to paint mistakes or failures as terrible things. When we fail, we can learn–we can try new things, we can get better and we can create.

I was thrilled to coauthor a piece with Dr. Shaunna Smith of Texas State University, for Art Educational Journal. Examining her students’ experiences in digital fabrication/art education courses, we explore their experiences with creativity, learning, and growth through failures.

Please feel free to view the article here:

Smith, S., & Henriksen, D. (2016). Fail Again, Fail Better: Embracing Failure as a Paradigm for Learning and the Visual Arts. Art Education Journal. 69(2), 6-11.

Writing this piece was also a chance to drop in a favorite quote, “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”