Accepting Failures

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been a cynosure of the world for some of its remarkable feats, such as Mars Orbiter Mission (successful in its very first attempt) or Chandrayan-1 (for crucial evidence of water on the moon’s surface) or launching 104 satellites in one go, despite several constraints.

It seems they live the philosophy of “Less is More”.

One more remarkable feature of this esteemed organisation is accepting failures and its honest admission in the public domain.

Acceptance of failure demands humility and its admission takes courage.

Today, I woke up enthusiastically to witness the launch of the EOS-03 mission of ISRO whose objective was to provide real-time imaging of large area regions at frequent intervals for monitoring natural disasters and mapping natural resources such as forestry and water bodies.

The mission did not achieve its stated objective. It was a partial failure. It was sad. 

However, what inspired me is the continuum of ISRO’s tradition of honest admission of their failures.

Soon after they came to know about the failure (partial) of the mission, they came up with the following tweet (see image attached).

When I read the tweet, I remembered one of the speeches of Dr. Kalam on the failure of the SLV-3 rocket and how Satish Dhawan, the then Chairman of ISRO, took the failure head-on. This tradition continues at ISRO.

Culture of the organisation is shaped over the period of time and leadership has a great influence on it.