How to ... use failures to succeed in technology for development

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Dec 7 2012, 13:09:00

Development professionals must embrace failures - it shows that we are striving to find solutions

Can you admit your failures? Could you stand up in front of your peers and say "I am a failure"? I doubt it. Few of us like to openly admit we fail. Yet we all do - in small ways on a daily basis and in big, embarrassing, cry in the corner ways too. So why is it so hard to talk about failure with honesty?

Too often we equate the word "failure" with just one level of failure - Hindenburg-level Fukashimas of catastrophe where history is altered on a global scale. But failure comes in many levels, and many are actually good failures.

When you pilot an idea, you should expect many little failures - that's how you learn what works and what doesn't. You itinerate based on those failures - or as they say in technology "fail early and often", to develop a model that works. Once you take that model to scale, there will be many more opportunities to fail. Even then, we should not take it personally.

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