FAILfaire: Getting Forthright about Failure

Ann All

Hot on the heels of my post yesterday on failure being a necessary part of the innovation process, I discovered an event that, while not exactly celebrating failure, encourages companies not to shy away from their failures, but to use them as valuable learning experiences.

 

The inaugural FAILfaire, an event during which attendees will discuss ICTD4 and mobile development failures, is scheduled for April 14 in New York City. Those interested in presenting and/or attending, can get more information online. Not only that, but on the event's home page, organizers encourage folks to share #fails in their own fields and consider hosting their own events. I like their spirit!

 

From the Web site:

While we often focus on highlighting successes in our field, it's no secret that many projects just don't work-some don't scale, some aren't sustainable, some can't get around bureaucratic hoops, and many fail due to completely unanticipated barriers. At FAILfaire we want to recognize the failures: the pilots that never got anywhere, the applications that are not delivering, the projects that are not having any measurable impact on the lives of people, and the cultural or technical problems that arise. As a field, we explore the use of technology in our work focused on increasing human and social capacities. Sharing success stories and case studies, while helpful, isn't enough. Talking openly and seeing where we have failed may help us learn, make better decisions, and avoid making the same mistakes again.

The last two sentences are the money part of the statement: Sharing success stories and case studies, while helpful, isn't enough. Talking openly and seeing where we have failed may help us learn, make better decisions, and avoid making the same mistakes again.

 

I think even companies that aren't comfortable with sharing proprietary details -- maybe especially those kinds of companies -- could benefit by hosting internal FAILfaires and by bringing in partners and suppliers where appropriate.



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