Celebrating failures at VTT’s first Gala of Failures

Nicolaas van Strien

"Not my fault, I followed the instructions!" Have you ever felt the blush rising on your cheeks or had the uncomfortable feeling after realising that you have made a mistake? Don't worry, we surely all have! However, how we reacted to it, is even more important. At VTT's Gala of Failures last Thursday, for the first time VTTers shared their stories of failing and learning from it - openly and in front of audience.

VTT's Young Professionals network hosted the company's first annual Gala of Failures last Thursday.

- In VTT's Hackathon event in 2017 we got the idea to challenge different aspects – and instead of shame and blame start to celebrate failures, because in the end they may be the remarkable moments that teach us a lot. We wanted to encourage people to talk more openly about their failures, share their experiences and even be proud of what they have learned thanks to failing, says VTTer and Young Professional vice-chairman behind the idea Nicolaas van Strien

At the Gala, VTTers told their personal stories about failing. Among them was VTT's CEO Antti Vasara. He reminds that VTT wants to endorse the culture of failing – and learning from it. 

- We cannot always choose not to fail, but we can choose to learn from it. If you never take risks, you will miss some great opportunities. A failure is not the end of the world, so let's speak up about them and learn the lessons the failures teach us. Learn fast!, he emphasises.

Dressing up as an ant, laughing at Linux

During the evening, stories were heard from VTTers failures in personal life such as poisoning one's family members by cooking toxic mushrooms or going to a masquerade evening party mistakenly dressed up as an ant, as well as related to one's earlier studies or career. Being too self-confident to admit that one has made some totally wrong calculations as part of an important research or taking Linus Torvalds' ideas about open source as something ridiculous.    

- I very much appreciate that people from different stages of their career shared their learning processes. Actually, the best innovations in the world are often born as a result of trial and error, says VTT's Senior VP in Human Resources Kirsi Nuotto, who also shared her own story during the evening.

At the end of the gala, the Fail of the Year was awarded to VTT's Research Scientist Mykola Ivanchenko, who even presented a theory about failing with its most typical "it wasn't me, I wasn't even there" reactions. Thank you again VTT Young Professionals Nicolaas van Strien, Magnus StrandbergErkka Rinne and Marton Szogradi for organizing this memorable event! What has been the biggest or funniest failure during your career?