Fail Club

Fail Club is a regular meeting of a small group of people to share their recent failures.

Photo of Steve Mouldey

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First Prototype:

Here is a Google Doc with a suggested format for running a Fail Club. Please read and add feedback. Then try it out with some colleagues and add feedback. Feedback from having tried this prototype will be massively helpful in evolving this idea!

Update: 24th August (in NZ)

I have recently created my own Fail Club with a small group of people working in education. We live in different cities so have decided to have monthly Google Hangouts to share our failures. The group was purposefully set up small amongst a group of 4, this allows us to trial how it works over GHO and allows for trust to build as well. We also all work for different organisations so that it mirrors the no hierarchy from the original post.

ORIGINAL POST:

I came across this idea a few weeks ago at the Design for Social Innovation Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand. Fail Club is a group of 6 people (who coincidentally met doing an IDEO course) that meet monthly to share their recent failures. They all work for different organisations so there is no hierarchy, just a group of trusted people who they can share honestly with. See this blog post for more detail.

I can see huge potential for this in education. Having a group of trusted people outside my school to help deconstruct a failure would definitely encourage me to keep pushing forward. Haven't failed lately and meeting the group soon? Better try that that slightly scary idea, if it fails I will have something to share next week. Being people from different schools would also mean the shared lessons from the failures would spread to different schools so it could have a systemic change effect too.

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Potential for Impact: Imagine this solution had near perfect implementation. To what extent would this solution bring about a culture of innovation within a school or classroom?

A lot! This solution would greatly bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 33.3%

Somewhat. This solution would somewhat bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 66.7%

Not much. This solution might help with other things, but I don't see it really bringing about a culture of innovation within schools or classrooms. - 0%

2. Feasibility and Fit: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: If this solution were available to me right now, I would be able to use it with relatively low investment. (i.e. money, time, or skills).

Strongly agree (this solution strongly aligns to my/my school's current capacities). - 66.7%

Agree. - 0%

Neutral. - 33.3%

Disagree. - 0%

Strongly disagree (this solution would take a big lift in resources to pull off). - 0%

3. Adaptability: I could imagine this solution working well in a variety of school and classroom contexts across a diverse set of needs.

Absolutely! I could see this working for a variety of schools and classrooms with different or unique needs. - 33.3%

Somewhat. I could see this working for many schools and classrooms, but it might need some adjusting to fit a broad diversity of contexts. - 66.7%

Not a lot. This seems like it might be better suited to only a few contexts. - 0%

4. Scalability: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: This idea could be adopted by an ever-growing number of teachers or students without requiring significant changes.

Strongly agree (this solution could easily scale without any significant changes). - 33.3%

Agree. - 66.7%

Neutral. - 0%

Disagree. - 0%

Strongly disagree (this solution would require significant changes in order to properly scale). - 0%

5. Desirability: Do you wish this solution were available to you right now?

1 - Not a lot. There's not a big need for this right now and/or we use something already that fulfills a similar purpose in my school or classroom. - 0%

2 - 33.3%

3 - 0%

4 - 33.3%

5 - A lot! There's nothing like this already and I'd love to have it in my school or classroom. - 33.3%

26 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

Anyone wanting to join in as a team on this idea to prototype up what it could look like across Schools/ a District?

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

I want to join this team, and try running one of these sessions in the next two weeks.

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

Great, thanks Charles. Look forward to hearing how it goes!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

I am thinking about doing a "pop-up" event for this, during a full faculty meeting soon. It would be a much-abbreviated script. I'll let you know!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Hey! So at the end of our full-faculty/staff meeting today, I ended early and gave people two options -- one option was:

"Partner with someone and share something you failed at this past week."

I explained the purpose was to embrace that we're all going to make mistakes as we transition into a 1:1 environment, and that we need to celebrate the risks we're taking, and continue support each other as we keep learning.

So basically, this was like the "think-pair-share" version of a Fail Club event. When I gave the directions, the reaction was immediate -- I heard a quick laugh, a good kind of a laugh. A number of people did it!

On the way out the door, one teacher shared with me that later today she was "planning to fail" when she tried using Google Slides in a new way... She had totally embraced the concept of the Fail Club.

Upon reflection, I loved it because it was the opposite of what you might normally expect to hear at a teacher meeting. Definitely going to do this again!

Photo of Bianca
Team

The routine work has been applied for the discussion and all challenges for the public. The role of the domain of the public and https://ukessaysreviews.com/royalessays-co-uk-review/ is determined for the services of the ladies. The domain has been invited for the production of the knowledge for the students in life.

Photo of Elysa Fenenbock
Team

Came across this website (http://pinterestfail.com/) and thought this team would appreciate it.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Those are awesome! (and honestly inspirational).

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Okay, I definitely had first attempt in learning with my fail club test.

When looking at the idea, I knew that normally I would never join a fail club. Not because I don't fail and learn from my struggles but because I don't like sharing stories with people I don't know well (well, honestly, with most people--introvert, here). I decided to try and figure out how to make the fail club work for me.

I wasn't sure with whom to test the prototype and so decided to email my staff (colleagues and admin) to see if they wanted to do a happy hour and fail club (I thought that the more informal setting would make me and others feel more comfortable). It being the first full week of school, I thought that most people would be too tired to participated. I titled the email "Happy Hour and Fail Club" and "Anyone interested in joining me on Friday, 4:30 at Cocina Central to celebrate with happy hour and share our most spectacular failures (so far)."

I received 18 excited responses including "That sounds AWESOME! Count me in, at least for a little while!" and "Fantastic idea Jess! This sounds like a lot of fun. I will join you all on Friday." Okay, probably too many to use the protocol that Steve outlined (I was going use option 1) but I figured that only half would show up and so we could go ahead as planned.

Friday night (yesterday), I showed up to the event and told the server that we'd have about ten people there. So, when 25 people showed up, I wasn't sure what to do. Clearly sharing our failures in an organized manner and having a discussion about being a safe zone would be difficult with such a long table. Some people were sharing failures/struggles spontaneously with the people around them but between people coming and going and the server bringing drinks, food, and getting new orders, there was a lot going on. I decided to give up on the organized format and let people be.

I did ask as people were leaving why they came (especially to people who showed up but hadn't said they would) and they said that they liked the idea of spectacular failures and so came. I apologized for not being more organized but they said that they were fine with it.

So, a lot of think about for me about hosting another fail club: do I limit the number of people? do I pick a venue where no one else is there? Brett and others mentioned establishing trust but we had admin there and it didn't seem to make a different--the first person to respond (all) to my email about attending was my superintendent/principal who wanted to know if she could only share professional failures or if personal ones were okay and how much time we had. So, in a way, she set the tone that everyone had failures and it was okay to share them.

So, yes, in a way, my fail club test was a failure (i.e. nothing going as planned). I definitely learned from the experience and now am trying process next steps.

Since I think the reasons to embrace failure are to be okay with taking risks and to learn from and reflect on mistakes, is it okay that people don't have a goal?

Will continue to think and reflect and will post my conclusions later.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

What an exciting first attempt. Clearly this concept holds great power. If I had a big group like that, I would probably have ask for volunteers to be "Failure Facilitators" who might facilitate discussion in smaller groups (for part of it)... You could have people rotate groups... Or... What about having attendees sign up in advance through a Google Form, and then use a drop-down menu to select a certain type of failure (keep it fun)... and maybe base groups in that. In a way, this is a simple form of record-keeping about the kinds of risks people are taking.

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

What a great failure - a failure due to unexpected popularity. To me, this shows how powerful this idea could be. Perhaps, this informal happy hour is a great prototype for a launch event or for where smaller fail clubs could meet a couple of times a year. That way there is a social element added in, but the focus for most of the year is in smaller groups so discussions can be facilitated more effectively?

It would be great to get some feedback from all those who were there: was this what you expected? would you like to be part of a smaller fail club in future? etc.

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

Hmm, wondering if the 'answer' lies in a combination of these. A Happy hour launch event for staff from the school (or district if going large) with snacks etc and "Failure Facilitators" to get the discussions going in an informal manner. Then have sign up sheets towards the end of the event for people who would like to join up with a smaller, more personal Fail Club for the year.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I will follow up with the people who attended and see what they had expected.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

I could see that drawing in people who initially might not have joined but are attracted by the social aspect and then will stay for the Fail Club. This might help the idea be more scalable and make more of an impact (since many of the people who would be attracted to the Fail Club already a growth mindset).

Photo of Brett Brownell
Team

Hey Steve and Jessica, I checked out the Google Doc but wasn't sure the best way to add since it was in suggest mode. But I wanted to note and suggest a few things.

First: I really like the intro idea that this is a private share, in order to keep secrets safe and establish trust. Regarding the 2 options for discussion: I like to make sure everyone gets enough time and attention in situations like this. So I lean towards option 1 where everyone does a quick introduction of their goal and failure. That way everyone feels comfortable by adding their thoughts quickly.

On that note, an idea I had is to highlight each teacher's original goal or test and sort of literally wear it on their sleeve. So if you meet in person maybe it's a name tag that says what you hoped to accomplish. Or if you meet virtually in a Hangout, maybe you have a title on your screen (which Hangouts allow) that says the same. So it could be something like:

Brett
I wanted to build a maker space in my school

Then everyone would not only be interested to hear what happened, but they could keep in mind the last question in the doc: "What can others in the group do to help on this?" I think that's the most valuable aspect of this idea: the input from others and learning together from your own "failure".

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Steve,
What are you thinking about with prototyping? Writing something up? Hosting a fail club? I put out the word to my colleagues to see if they'd like to join me for a happy hour/fail club on Friday to test out any ideas we come up with.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Fabulous idea--would love to work on prototyping this.

Photo of Edwin Lagos
Team

Steve,

I love the idea of a fail club. It not only promotes risk-taking but it can also be the start of creating a culture of innovation inside of a classroom. Could we take it further and have a fail club for students? Students from different classes/ages can come in and tell their failures in school and outside of school. Maybe they would let a few teachers they trust sit in and listen to what/why they failed at?

Also, what do you would be the biggest obstacle towards people not sharing failures? Alexandrea mentioned resources and support. What kind of support from administrators would we need? (They should be involved in the club ideally)

However, sounds like the best resources you could get for this club would be an open mind, honesty and willingness to admit you're not awesome at everything.

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

Open Mind is key here. To me the key thing that a group needs to share this is trust. So some thought needs to be placed into how to build that trust up amongst the group. Some sort of shared experience?

Photo of Alexandrea Alphonso
Team

Love seeing the common theme of embracing failures. Do you envision this fail club being built into a teacher's school day or an additional PLC that they would have to plan for? I know time committment has been a concern I've heard from educators and district leaders. What type of support/resources would a teacher need to participate in the Fail Club? What would need to happen to ensure that this is embraced across any district?

Photo of Dan Ryder
Team

And look at that . . . my Qs . . . right there. Love this community of thinking right here . . . while I tweet, the Qs keep a rolling out.

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

As a monthly meet up, it doesn't require massive amounts of time commitment (and that is partly why I like this idea!). I wonder if it was launched across a District perhaps a Day to start it all off with a bang would work. Have a mini-conference with some speakers sharing inspirations/provocations then people meet their Fail Club/team and are set a fun challenge to complete together to start the trust building. If this was done well then teams would set meeting times that suit them after that?

Photo of Mark Carlucci
Team

I like the idea of pressure to try something so you might have something to share next meeting. Would everyone just share their failures or would they try to work at them, identify what went wrong, and try to correct it?
Would this be best suited to people coming together on their own accord or groups put together separately?
Do you see this working with students as well?

Photo of Steve Mouldey
Team

Hi Mark, to me the idea behind it all is to start with sharing, identify what went wrong and how you might do it differently in future: i.e. what are the learnings from this failure. Sometimes you need to dig a bit deeper to find the real failure so the sharing and conversations, questions from your club mates could help reveal a deeper failure than the surface thing that occurred.

To this end, I wonder how well it would work with people being placed together. If they were placed together, you would need some type of group experience to start the trust building amongst them. Otherwise, why would you share your failure with these people?

This can definitely work with students. I have been implementing elements of this in my advisory group at school.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
Team

The idea of a fail club/conference has been gaining momentum as people get more open about it. Startup conferences always had sometime that talked about failure. I recently also came across - FialCon - a conference for startup founders to study their own and others' failures and prepare for success. (http://thefailcon.com/)

As much as this is good, I think the problem is not about talking about failure. I think it is the meaning and stigma associated with the word that make the word "Failure" bad. I think the biggest of them all is the - Opposite of Fail is Pass/ Succeed. With this kind of meaning who on earth in their right logical mind wants to fail. Hence we have the urge to re-frame it re-define it and give it a new meaning.
Now we can't change the meaning of the word but I think we surely can change how we interpret it.

Yes night is the opposite of day, but it does not mean anything bad. Dark is the opposite of light, But it is the dark that gets us to appreciate light. One can only appreciate a light bulb's glow in the dark and not during the day. Similarly, Failure is what make success to rewarding and not the other way around. I believe once we embrace this thought, we do not need to go out seeking the darkest room in the world or have an "A-list" of sorts to compare. But to appreciate the light while we embrace the darkness. To be able to realize and celebrate the success, but also give credit to the failure without which the success would not have been possible.

I therefore suggested Embracing Failure - Share and tell Stories of Failure Heroes. You can read more about it at - https://goo.gl/RIC0AC

Photo of Brett Brownell
Team

Steve! Thank you for adding this idea! Looks like it's not officially published yet though. If you're ready, just select the blue "Publish" button at the top of the post.