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FAILFaire: Sharing and Learning from Failures with a Sense of Humor
Amanda Reed, 25 Aug 10


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MobileActive has invented a new model for non-profits to share failure-stories as a way to promote learning and future success: the FAILFaire.

Christian Madera has the story at Next American City:

Certainly learning about a new worthwhile web tool or project is exciting – especially when it offers lessons for how to do or replicate something similar elsewhere. Yet, for each new app or initiative that gets launched, I’d venture to guess there are probably dozens of projects that failed (or plans that never got off the ground in the first place). And these failures offer just as much (if not more) potential for learning about how to and not to do something.

However, these types of failures don’t get much attention – and are often deliberately hidden or played down. After all, these can be potential embarrassing, especially for governments and elected officials or non-profit organizations that have to answer to donors. To combat this phenomenon, MobileActive, a non-profit organization that helps anti-poverty and international development groups use technology effectively, has pioneered a useful model for bringing these failures out into the open.

Dubbed ‘FailFaires’, the events bring people together in a casual and relaxed setting over drinks and nibbles after work. There are no name tags or structured agendas. Rather, a series of presenters give short, informal, story-like presentations – discussing a project, its outcome and the reasons for its failure. Hosted in New York and Washington, D.C. thus far, MobileActive hopes that the idea will expand to other cities and fields.

For more on the advent of FAILFaires, see this story in the New York Times.


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