Quantity Equals Quality if you Fail a lot!

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Get on with your Design and stop thinking about it. Fail often, Fail a lot, but fail early.
Quote Via: Russell Davies

  • ky

    February 25, 2009 at 6:45 am Reply

    What a refreshing and enlightening experiment! Many times I feel like I fall under the quality group mindset of theorizing and planning instead of actually doing. Instead of getting my ideas on paper and then translating those to the model stage, it seems as though they become trapped within my unconscious efforts at perfectionism.
    At the same time, the results are not surprising given the medium. Ceramics works with a limited number of materials and processes–a very craft oriented discipline. It’s hard to say if the results will be replicated with other more delicate mediums.
    Nevertheless, the key point in this experiment is that the quantity group learned from the many mistakes they made–and that’s something that applies to everything we do.

  • Adam McAmis

    February 19, 2009 at 2:28 am Reply

    Great story!
    The best advice you can give anyone who does creative work is to stop over analyzing things and just do it.

  • gwen

    February 19, 2009 at 1:28 am Reply

    We need more teachers like that. Even top schools don’t have many like that, too.
    This is valuable post. I couldn’t agree more with the whole process of making mistakes.

  • yan

    February 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm Reply

    nice post.. truly agree with that..
    excellence isn’t an invention.. you are what you repeatedly do..
    nice blog, Mr. DT.. keep posting..

  • DT

    February 8, 2009 at 12:31 am Reply

    Hi Justin,
    I’m glad you like it and please keep in touch?
    Hey Khaled,
    Keep going, hang in there, and you’ll get there for sure!

  • Justin Moore-Brown

    February 7, 2009 at 8:19 am Reply

    It’s almost impossible to get something right the first time. What a fantastic approach to his class. The whole process of design is built around exploration and experimentation. That’s how progress and development is made!
    FANTASTIC post.
    Mistakes are only mistakes when we fail to correct them.- JFK

  • khaled

    February 6, 2009 at 2:42 am Reply

    Its true what they say, practice makes perfect. I usually find I learn more from making mistakes than I do from getting it right the first time. Not that I often get it right straight away.

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