Fail Festival 2015: A Commitment to Failing Forward

Dec 16, 2015 by Katherine Haugh Comments (0)

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the acclaimed 2015 Fail Fest in Washington, DC. Hosted by FHI360, Plan International, and TechChange, the event brought hundreds of international development practitioners together to share their failures in a fun and honest way. The biggest take away for me was that #FailFestDC is an opportunity for us all to make a genuine commitment to failing forward. Being forthcoming about our individual and collective failures is an important first step, but turning failure into an opportunity to learn and grow is even more necessary. As Partick Fine, CEO of FHI360, eloquently explained, sometimes when we fail, it means we are taking the first step. When other people come behind us and take more steps, that’s when we have real impact. The point that Piers Bocock, Chief of Party of USAID LEARN, made about the value of great teams really stuck with me: Piers urged conference-goers to never underestimate the power of a great team.

I left the conference feeling grateful for my wonderful colleagues and all of the brilliant, passionate and creative people working in the fields of tech, M&E, and international development. With that being said, now that we’ve opened the metaphorical can of worms and spilled the beans about our failures, what are we going to commit to do differently going forward? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you to all of the brave souls who offered up their own failures last night (listed below). Scroll down and take a look at The Top Ten Failures from FailFest2015 and be sure to check out the full set of visual notes from the conference!  

 Image Credits: Katherine Haugh