Ian Walker of CPDWORKS recommended the book, Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, to me.  The start of the book considers two different industries’ attitude to failure; healthcare and aviation.  In both cases failure can have tragic consequences.  How the two industries view failure tends to be very different though.  The suggestion is that the aviation industry embrace failure but healthcare shy away from it.  Which is why the book is called Black Box Thinking.


I read one of those inspirational quotes the other day.  “I never lose; I win or I learn” (often attributed to Nelson Mandela).  Others have modified this quote too. I’m not a competitive person so this version suits me better “I never fail; I succeed or I learn”.


As a scientist this philosophy has been ingrained in me from an early age.  As a scientist you experiment.  You theorise first.  Then you test your theory with an experiment.  Often the results of the experiment aren’t quite what you expected.  This is never seen as a failure but as evidence.  Evidence that your theory wasn’t quite correct and you need to modify the theory and try another experiment.


I view marketing as a science.  Which is why I say I practise evidence based marketing.  You have to learn from what you do to ensure that you achieve the highest return on investment.  That’s not just monetary investment.  We all invest our time in our businesses so we need to achieve a good return on that investment too.


So we have to learn from what we do.  We also have learn from what we haven’t done.  Constantly, and we have modify our behaviours and actions along the way.


One other thing you’ll find scientists have is resilience.  The ability not to give up.  There is an answer out there, you just have to find it.


Ali Shehab CEO of Cimteq, a man I haven’t met but I hope I will do one day, writes on the team page of his company website “…..But my real passion is learning and the belief that the impossible is an opportunity not a dead end”.


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