Admitting Failure  

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Charles Coon

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Focus Areas:

Agriculture, Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, Economic Growth and Trade and 8 MoreSEE MORE

Agriculture, Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, Economic Growth and Trade, Education, Energy, Environment, Gender, Health, Housing and Infrastructure, Humanitarian Assistance and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)SEE LESS


United States

United StatesSEE LESS

It is painful for civil society organizations to acknowledge when we don’t meet our goals and objectives; it is just as painful to worry about how funders will react to such failure. The paradox is that we do everything we can to avoid these pains even though we all know failure is the best teacher and we have to be open and talk about our failures in order to learn. More than that, openly acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation that takes our work from good to great.

To address this conundrum we need a paradigm shift in how civil society views failure.  We think this starts with open and honest dialogue about what is working and what isn’t so Admitting Failure exists to support and encourage organizations to (not surprisingly) admit failure.

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning underground and hinders innovation.
No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly “bad” failure is one that’s repeated.

Failure happens. This is a community and a resource to encourage new levels of transparency, collaboration and innovation across the for-purpose sector.