ISRO excels as no individual penalised for failures: Somanath

04:17 PM Sep 27, 2023 | PTI |

Failures are a very natural part of the space sector but no individual is penalised for it at ISRO which encourages scientists to take novel approaches in decision-making, the space agency’s chairman S Somanath said on Wednesday.


Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the All India Management Association (AIMA), Somanath, who played a key role in the soft-landing of a spacecraft on the moon, noted that even he had faced failures several times, but never got criticised for it by his seniors.

”We make sure that no single individual is penalised for failures because no decision is made by a single individual. All these decisions are taken by collective wisdom,” he said in an interactive session here.

Somanath said in the space sector, there is a clear understanding that one person cannot understand everything which leads to collective decision-making.

”So, collective decision means that you own the responsibility of failures as well. Management owns the responsibility, it is not fixed on an individual. This is the first,” he said.


”So, people are courageous enough to take a novel approach or decisions. Otherwise, everybody will move away from taking any risks,” the space agency chief said.

He said at ISRO, the management was very clear that failures are a natural part of a process when work is being done and the approach has always been to identify the reasons for the setback and make the necessary corrections.

”You have to give confidence to the people who have the courage to propose new things and support them. Once you do that, you can do wonders in any organisation,” he said.

On identifying talent for the space programme, Somanath said he found that the commitment levels to excel in life of persons coming from a humble background were very high when compared with city dwellers.

”If you get a person from a tier-3 institution and put him in the task, the growth rate of the person in terms of his ability, knowledge is substantially higher than I could see from a city dweller,” he said.

”Because the distractions that change a person from concentrating on his work are actually higher for a city dweller than for a villager,” Somanath said.

”This is a very important learning that I have learnt from my organisation. If I take a person from a humble background, his commitment to excel in life is very very high, when compared with a person who comes from a top-notch institution,” the ISRO chief said.


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