Failure is often seen as a negative part of scientific discovery. Failure is inherently bad. But failure is not completely bad. When it is not a completely indomitable failure, it provides an opportunity for growth, and quite often is a stepping stone towards success, or brings you one step closer from achieving your goal.
This anthology is a collection of 15 carefully curated pieces which reflect the importance and the nuances around failure and its role in the scientific world. As you will find, failure is not only an irremovable component of science and progress, but a driving force into scientific discovery and advancement.
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As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” What they don’t tell you is that it also makes Jack less likely to succeed at work. In the next fifteen examples, you will see the value of play–hobbies–in addition to work, specifically scientific exploration. In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson reports how hobbies have benefited the scientific community through many generations.
“Legendary innovators like Franklin, Snow, and Darwin all possess some common intellectual qualities—a certain quickness of mind, unbounded curiosity—but they also share one other defining attribute. They have a lot of hobbies” (Johnson, 172).
The innovative power that comes from balancing work and play–career and hobbies–has always been present in scientific exploration. This anthology will describe how that power is still at work today.
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The film Groundswell Rising is documentary showing how the effects of fracking are affecting towns in low socioeconomic standing. The idea of fracking is a discovery that has lead to the collection of gas during the late 1860’s. This done by drilling down deep into the Earth and injecting a high pressure mixture of water inside the hole made. The high pressure is directed at the rocks, beneath the Earth’s surface, release the gas inside the holes made. The result ends with the collect of the gas released into the rocks into wells. The growing scarcity of fossil fuels has allowed for the flourishment of the fracking industry. The growth in the fracking market is an idea mentioned in Steven Johnson’s book Where Good Ideas Come From. In it Johnson states that with unregulated markets that we have today, the growth and decline markets are allowed to occur. In this case, fracking is allowed to growing to a huge industry as a means of an alternate energy source. This growing industry can create new jobs and help many towns additional income. However, the health implications associated with fracking can cause devastating effects. During the fracking process many different types of chemical molecules are released into the air and the water supply. The side effects of fracking can lead to many birth defects, gastrointestinal and respiratory issues. With all of these health and medical issues present, people affected are left to seek medical help. However, most people cannot afford to pay for their medical bills due to their low income. This situation leaves many vulnerable populations in a corner where they cannot get the medical attention that they need. Hopefully, as time goes society will generate new alternative or seek already existing technologies to resolve these important issues.
“Rigid business organization and sharply delineated functions had no place at Genentech, a company in which flexibility, improvisation, and quick action were essential”(128).
Genentech’s business model and inter-company interaction are consist with innovation and a perfect level of casualness that makes the company so successful. Genentech was obviously not going to be a company forged on the conventional seriousness of the corporate world. Rather, Genentech embodies the facilitation of ideas that Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From, would love. The fact of the matter is this: in the realm of science, innovation, and product-based development, it is very important for employees of whatever company to be comfortable, casual, and unconventional. This, in turn, will create an atmosphere that can spread innovation.
Current CEO Ian Clark embodies this mantra because he knows the importance of innovation facilitation in relation to the biotechnology industry. “The truth is that the best ideas don’t always come from the top. I want every person at Genentech to feel comfortable both contributing ideas and challenging them. If dressing up in a pink ruffled tuxedo or like Han Solo once in awhile helps keep that culture alive, I’m up for it.” Ian Clark could not have said it any better: it is equally important that all members of a company are able to voice their opinions and ideas, so that this company can be running at the highest level of efficiency and potential.