I was recently reminded of a very promising-looking event idea for communities of practice interested in pushing the limits of mutual learning. It’s called FAILfaire, a format that encourages the sharing of — you guessed it — failures.
I thought it might be something worth trying at the upcoming IAP2 2013 North America conference. Encouraged by the positive comments on the IAP2 USA LinkedIn group, here’s the session idea I just put forth:
Adapted from the FAILFaire website:
<< Projects succeed, projects fail. The successes are reported on, the failures are filed away. Or, in the case of many public participation projects, pushed under the proverbial rug. Well, its time to bring out the failures, with a sense of humor, and with an honest look at ourselves. FAILfaire features projects that have, to put it simply, been a #FAIL. Busted, kaputt. Tongue firmly in cheek, we take a close look at what didn’t work and why the projects failed despite our best efforts. We believe that only if we understand what doesn’t work in this field and stop pushing our failures under the rug, can we collectively learn and get better, more effective, and have greater impact as we go forward. >>
The key is to create a safe space (ground rules usually include no audio/video recording, no tweeting, no attribution etc.). FAILfaires aren’t for everybody, but if there’s enough interest it might be something worth trying at IAP2 2013.
For more on the concept, check out these posts:
- FAILfaire blog (07/2010): How To: Roll Your Own FailFaire
- Worldbank EduTech blog (08/2010): Failing in public — one way to talk openly about (and learn from) ‘failed’ projects
- Worldbank EduTech blog (11/2011): Running your own FAILfaire
If you’re interested in developing this a bit further, please leave your comments or get in touch. Thanks!