Practicing the “Blunder Principle”

Practicing the “Blunder Principle”

They always say that you learn more from your failures that you do from your successes.  If this is true, why don’t we see this principle employed more in our world?  At Ingenuity, we asked ourselves what would happen if we could create a safe place to make mistakes and learn from them.  What would that look like and how could we build that?

This question took us off into some pretty deep conversations with Ingenuers far and near.  Back in April, we got together to “try on” what it would look and feel like to blunder together while doing a mini-aquaponics build. As we all fumbled together, we later regrouped and had an amazing conversation around what we discovered both on a personal level and working with a group.

“I learned that we were completely not prepared to do the build as we didn’t even have all of the materials we needed to complete the project,” stated Tyler Muir.

Other discoveries included that people learned what they felt comfortable with and uncomfortable with.

“The value of blundering together is that we learned how to make a safe space to be vulnerable,” shared Debilyn Monlineaux.

Since April, we have taken the blunder principle into new uncharted waters.  The concept of being vulnerable is a key component for the blunder principle to be effective and impactful.

“I never realized just how vulnerable we would have to be until now.  As we have been working to get our core team together to help us build our infrastructure, programs and values, requires you step into a position where not knowing all the answers is an acceptable answer,” states Kate.  “In fact, I am seeing that by simply stating that, more people recognize how they can help and get involved.”

“Blundering isn’t always fun,” says Aaron. “You are going to make mistakes and you are asking for people to see them so you can learn together.  I am learning to be more humble.  But that doesn’t mean that others are going to be.”

Practicing the blunder principle in our culture where perfection, success and image are valued is challenging.  We have learned that if we are going to blunder it requires the following:

1. Be open to sharing your own feelings and observations.

2. Be willing to receive feedback from others from their perspectives.

3. Learn how to discern what is surfacing and emerging.

4. Be curious and inquisitive.  Become less judgmental.

5.  Come from the heart.  Develop a compassionate connection with those you interact with.

These top five elements have truly become some excellent guideposts to help create a safe place where folks can learn from their mistakes.

The Blunder Principle can be applied to any situation.  Even if you don’t have a group to practice with, start by trying something new when a mistake is made.  Ask yourself to step outside the situation and explore what other perspectives might look and feel like. Capture what comes up for you in by keeping a journal or by doing some art work.  Developing a sense of awareness around yourself and other perspectives will help you create new ways of looking at situations so you can try to do something new when the same problem emerges.

Ingenuity will be creating a space where we can share our blunders in the forum section of our website.

Source: 2013 July Newsletter