Best Failures

Do you ever tire of individuals and organizations pretending to have it all figured out, insisting that their models are superior and worthy of support and adoration?

Just once I’d love to attend a conference featuring best failures instead of best practices. Imagine esteemed leaders standing before their peers, sharing stories about hitting the wall and facing structural challenges that threatened their success. Imagine the rich dialog and reflection that could result as participants considered their own experiences, with spin-off committees and action groups exploring new models and paradigms.

As the challenges facing our communities grow deeper and more complex it’s time to admit that our current models and approaches are not working and that we do not, in fact, have it all figured out. With that said, it would be a waste to dismiss our failures in all their richness. It is only by exploring them openly and thoughtfully that we can clarify the points of leverage and fragility that are key to finding our path forward.

Perhaps a “Best Failures Symposium” is a timely idea. I know I have many case studies to contribute………

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About mbhuber2013

convener and co-founder of BTEP, instructor for Tanzania Study Abroad course; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning at University at Buffalo

3 responses to “Best Failures”

  1. goshin2013 says :

    If measurement, with an intent to continuously improve performance, was part of the customary discipline of managing programs(which it is in some) then end results would be better. In such settings there aren’t failures as such, but opportunities to learn, redirect, improve. This approach is very effective especially using short cycle times.

  2. beautyonourterms says :

    Brilliant concept! We are always telling our children to learn from their mistakes, why not adults charged with the enormous responsibility of creating effective models?

  3. Eric says :

    Agreed. Many times we go through these processes but how often is it meaningful compared to what ends up being a punitive mission from a lead organization rather than a a process of learning?

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