Laurie Rosenwald: How to Make Mistakes on Purpose

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Episode 3—How to Make Mistakes on Purpose: Laurie Rosenwald on Why a Little Chaos Is Good for You

Fireworks, Viagra, Penicillin, Pringles, microwave ovens: What do all of these have in common?

They were the result of accidents. Wrong turns. Mistakes. No one started out to create Viagra—it was supposed to be a drug for treating hypertension. Penicillin happened only because a British bacteriologist forgot to clean his lab before going on vacation. Percy Spencer came up with the idea for the microwave when a candy bar melted in his pocket. At the time these missteps may have seemed innocuous, inconvenient, even embarrassing. No one likes making mistakes—or owning up to them.

But as our guest and self-proclaimed professional mistake-maker Laurie Rosenwald sees it, the moment you stop making mistakes is the moment you stop learning. Laurie is an artist, author, designer, educator and self-proclaimed professional mistake-maker. Her new book, Making Mistakes on Purpose, was just published by Hatchette. We’ll be talking with her about it today and how she encourages us to cast off the shackles of pragmatism and embrace chaos.

Subscribe now on iTunes, Google, and Spotify. Download the transcript here. Follow us on Twitter @ChangeMakersCG.


About Laurie Rosenwald

A native New Yorker and 1977 Rhode Island School of Design graduate, Laurie Rosenwald has made her name as an author, artist, designer, animator and educator. Her work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times and New York magazine, and in solo shows in Europe and the U.S. How to Make Mistakes on Purpose is Laurie’s fourth book; her similarly titled creativity workshop has been hosted by schools and corporations on both sides of the Atlantic, including Starbucks, Google, the Art Directors Club, AIGA New York, and Art Center College of Design.

“Making mistakes on purpose enables people to invent and discover truly original things and to get unstuck when they’re stuck,” she says. “It could be an invention that saves lives or a new dessert, a lucrative investment or a road trip.”

About Change Makers and Their Stories Podcast

Change Makers and Their Stories brings to life the stories behind the industry disruptors, marketing innovators and leaders driving change in today’s world. It’s produced and hosted by Carpenter Group, a New York City-based creative agency that helps major global financial institutions, professional services firms and technology companies build a strategic advantage for their brands in a competitive and constantly evolving world.