From Failure to Fantastic

Gaby Charmont Blog

Have you ever gotten a poor grade on an assignment when you think it truly deserved better? Did you take an honest look and were able to admit you did everything you could to make it great? I bet there is reasoning behind those grades received, and often a quick read through of a student’s work can confirm the amount of revisions that were done before submitting, that number usually being none. Here’s the thing, we’re not perfect and neither is anything we do on the first try. This is why iterative creativity is so important, especially in the classroom, and far beyond. This iterative process works as a cycle where you design your project, build it, test it, and then repeat. You can get an idea for a project, build the presentation, have your peers make edits and suggestions on your work, and then repeat with consideration given to creatively improving the parts others pointed out. While this cycle might need to be repeated a few times, I promise your project will be much closer to perfect than it was on your first attempt.

Iterative Creativity graphic

Although it was a hard lesson to learn, I eventually discovered the power a do-over has to add value to a project. I was discouraged throughout grade school when I would turn in my work, thinking it was comparable to that of a creative genius, and would receive suggestions for improvement. This made me feel like I would never be as creative as my peers. In reality though, my creativity simply was not pushed to it’s limits. Nothing is going to be great on the first attempt, and I just never realized the power of reflection and review of my work. My goal was always to just get the assignment done, and the content was usually lacking substance and depicted this clearly. I did not have the creative skills to impress my teachers on my first attempt like I thought I had, and I doubt my peers were any different. I wish my teachers had taken the time to explain the importance of revisions and how to improve my work, before turning it in. This at times may entail a do-over, a great amount of deliberate practice at what you’re doing, and quite a few failed ideas along the way. I encourage students and educators to lose their attachment to their first great idea for a project. Along the creative iteration process, there is room to revise, deviate from the original plan, and possibly even start fresh. There is not a path to follow that will lead to a perfect project, but using this cycle will improve you work significantly. Along the way, there will be plenty of do-overs and deviations from the original path, but this is all worth the effort when the final project is as awesome as you had imagined. 


I enjoy the way 30hands Pro encourages students to use iterative creativity while they work. This process allows students to rethink their original thought or design and improve their project from what it was on their first try. Students are able to storyboard their initial ideas and then can make changes or diversions along the path they had initially mapped out. There is the ability to add and/or delete a slide, rework the photos on a slide, re-record slides that did not have clear audio, etc. This gives students the ability to make improvements to their work from where they last left off; there is not always the need to redo a project from the beginning but always plenty of room for editing. Learning is a lot more fun when you’re able to take a critical look at your presentation and evaluate if it does reflect the knowledge you want to present. When a whole class is doing this together, their presentations will raise in quality and students will have more fun collaborating and learning from each other. It is much more impressive and rewarding to work towards perfection than to simply get something done.

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Iterative creativity can be learned best by students when there is not a time crunch for completing assignments. There must be many opportunities to revise, rework, and possibly ditch a failure of a creative exploration. Students will learn the lifelong importance of making revisions and the ability to fail without becoming discouraged, but rather fueling a greater passion for new explorations of topics. While using this cycle of iterative creativity, student’s projects will be much improved for a better final submission.

Untitled drawing

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