Trial and Error with a Mess

The economist Tim Harford argues that perfectionism and the ‘god complex’ hinder good design and engineering. Evolution has produced a wonderfully complex system through trial and error; many of history’s great inventions have come through trial and error rather than being masterminded ahead of time.

Harford makes his case in this TED Talk (18 min) and in this longer talk (52 min).

Masterpieces are not the result of perfect conditions. Instead, great things are produced under trying circumstances. We need constraints to produce our best work.

Harford outlines this in his second TED Talk (15 min) and in this longer talk (51 min).