This past week concluded the fifth and final week of the PACFLT Industry Innovation Fellowship with O2O2 facewear. I would like to thank the O2O2 team, the bio-design lab at Auckland University of Technology, the group at MD5 and PACFLT for making this opportunity possible and for teaching me a lot about the startup and innovative culture in O2O2. I really enjoyed my time over these past five weeks and this has been a great opportunity to be involved with and learn from the O2O2 team.
This past week the team focused on preparing the O2O2 facewear system for testing and the testing protocol that will be used in the testing being conducted at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). In addition to the emphasis on testing the team was able to 3D scan the flight deck helmet to create a CAD model of the helmet that will allow for the O2O2 facewear to be modified for compatibility with the flight deck helmet.
The team learned quite a bit during the 3D scanning process. Pictures highlighting the differences between the scans are included below. The first scan was done with me wearing the mask and during the process it was noticed that the scanner was having difficulty picking up the areas of high reflectivity and the dark areas. To overcome this issue masking tape was placed over the areas of high reflectivity and targets (small black and white stickers) were placed in the dark areas to allow the scanner to locate and more easily identify the surface. These few changes made the scan much cleaner and more complete. During the second scan, however, it was noticed that it was difficult to get the scanner in the right location to adequately provide the details of the underside of the ear muffs. This was due to the scanner angle and distance requirements for a good scan. For the last and most complete scan the flight deck helmet was placed on a mannequin head. This provided the best scan because it allowed the head to be rotated and angled to meet the angle and distance requirements for scanning.
During the previous posts I discussed “fail fast”, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), “number 8 wire”, and prototyping principles but the one common topic all the innovators, small business owners, and researchers mentioned when discussing innovation was having a lack of a fear of failure. Starting at a young age we are taught that failure is bad and admitting failure is to accept blame and that mentality once set it is carried forward into our professional lives. As professionals we want to help our organization learn and grow from failures; however, because of the way we were taught we are thinking about failure the wrong way. Harvard Business Review published an article “Strategies for Learning from Failure” by Amy Edmondson and the conclusion she drew about nurses’ willingness to speak up about differences in patient care units was caused by the behavior of the midlevel managers and their response to failures.
The truth is that if we want to create a culture of innovation we must change the perception of failure. Now that will be a very hard thing to do in an organization as large as the Navy but it can be done. Changing this perception of failure will not only foster an innovative mindset but also allow small problems to be brought up, discussed and resolved before they can be compounded into a large issue. One example of this from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility is when the Commanding Officer wanted to change the culture on injuries. All injuries no matter how small were to be reported. Once people realized that it was acceptable to report all injuries the reported injuries significantly went up but by analyzing the minor injuries trends were noticed that allowed for corrective actions to be taken to prevent more significant injuries which lead to a drop in the recordable injuries and lost work days. I know that this example deals more with problems and not failures but the cultural shift and ability to capitalize on that shift is the importance of this example.
During a discussion with Jerry, the O2O2 Chief Technology Officer, the idea was discussed on teaching a course on failure. This could be a great start to a paradigm shift on failure. A couple ideas came to mind when thinking about this course. The focus of this course should be scenario based where the participants are put in a scenario that is designed for them to fail and then to analyze the failure to determine lessons learned. There should be a discussion on the different types of failures (not all failures are the same and therefore should not be treated the same) and how to analyze failures. A course on the subject would be a great start to have people understand their own perception of failure and understand how we can adapt our thinking to create an environment that will foster innovation.
A few resources that I found interesting and helpful on this topic are:
Edmondson, Amy C., “Strategies for Learning from Failure”, Harvard Business review, April 2011 https://hbr.org/2011/04/strategies-for-learning-from-failure
Burger, Edward, “Teaching to Fail”, Inside Higher Ed, August 2012 https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/08/21/essay-importance-teaching-failure