08:00 AM - 09:00 AM
21 October 2023

Success in Failure: Case Studies of Mistakes

Systems Failures

I used to believe that good engineers never made mistakes. Now I know that good engineers are only good because they have made mistakes. Mistakes and failures are largely what defines our success as both individuals and as a profession. It is only through our greatest mistakes that our biggest successes have come. And it is only on the back of failure that our profession can measure any degree of success.

This session will look closely at the role mistakes can have for us as engineers by studying some of history’s greatest engineering failures and the successes that have come from them. Though many of the case studies we will review will be of a historical context, we will focus our discussion on the common element that connects us to each one of them; the engineer or builder responsible for it. And we will discover that though we may be removed from the context in which the project took place, we are not so far removed from the challenges faced by these engineers and builders. By studying their failures and their success, we will learn much about ourselves and how we will face our own failures.

The session will conclude with an interactive workshop style discussion designed to reflect the lessons learned about engineering failures and how such lessons can help fortify our teams and companies against making the kind of mistakes that can lead to such failure.