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Friday, August 6, 2021

For Scientists, Failure Is a Motivating Force

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We need to create ecosystems that enable failure as a normal part of life. This starts from the home, the school and the workplace.  It starts by being role models ourselves.

There is huge human talent around the world. However, it is not allowed to flourish and find a path forward.  Those who don’t succeed should change their mind-set to become the change themselves.

Faten Al Jabsheh,  Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

Al Jabsheh, an expert in industrial policy and economic development, added this:

“Embracing failure—if you choose to call it ‘failure’—is your key to success. In fact, it is evidence that you are learning and developing because by default you know what to exclude next time.

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“In economic research, ‘failure,’ or when ‘it doesn’t fit,’ has been my mainstay, especially when providing decision support to policy making where ‘what if’ scenarios and analysis play the role of probable failure playgrounds.

“Expediting and facilitating ‘failure’ and trial and error has been a relaxing mental framework for me throughout my journey because it has given me room and confidence to imagine and try without inhibition, knowing that it’s not the last call. Even if this space is not yet integral in each of our learning and or working systems, I think that it is so important to create it for ourselves.

“The word ‘failure’ is often poor nomenclature that is misused and misplaced.  In my journey in science, technology and Innovation, failure was a synonym for ‘keep going, you’re getting closer.’”

Rana Dajani is a professor of molecular cell biology at the Hashemite University, in Jordan, and a visiting professor at the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond, in the United States. She is also president of the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World.

Her fellow panel members were Barham K. Abu Dayyeh, gastroenterologist and professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, United States;  Faten Al Jabsheh, director of scientific and technical support, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research; Mohamad Bydon, neurosurgeon and assistant dean of education, Mayo Clinic; and Omar Yaghi,  professor of chemistry, University of California, Berkeley.

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