Fail Club

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

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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.


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.


Join the conversation:

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

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

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

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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!

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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!

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