Lets talk Failures


Being my first post here I would first like to say thank you Sannasu and Ratatanny for inspiring me with your thoughts and words of Sustainability and Development. Based on the topic of this post I am pretty sure both of you have failed or made mistakes of different kinds in your life, and I am just as sure that you learned from them……so that brings me to talking a little bit about how important it is to admit your mistakes and failures being an individual, a group, a company or an organisation or to simplify…….this is for everyone.

I will start with a quote by the industrialist Henry Ford:

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”

Failure and Intelligence belongs together and these two words can create amazing Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR is for me a three letter abbreviation that has become a trend almost, people today make careers and amazing profits from working with CSR, and they show how great work they have done with aspects at the triple bottom line. It is fantastic to see the engagement around the worlds business leaders on the topic, however I am missing one aspect. This is the failure aspect.

Businesses are praised for sending in their sustainability reports showing the good work they have done in the past years focusing on the positive things that have been done, however no one is asking them to reveal the things they failed with. This brings me to my urge for Failure reports, this as a responsibility that should be compulsory for all companies and organisations around the world. If you show me what you did wrong I wont do the same mistake, this is probably one of the greatest responsibilities you can do, to share your mistakes without being afraid to be shot.

We all know the best school is learning from failure, as no one wants to make the same failure twice, but why do then companies try to put all their failures in the wardrobe? Are they scared to lose face, reputation and short-term profits? There needs to be a mindset change here as when it comes down to it there is nothing greater than admitting your mistakes, it can give you a longterm respect and trust from your target group. Just look at it on personal level. Lets say you hurt someone, then you will grow so much more in this persons eyes if you admits your mistake and say you are sorry rather than ignoring it and not talking about it, who will learn from that?……..okay maybe we can’t compare everything to relationship-psychology but to one extent I do believe it goes through all lines of life and relationships from personal to business. We all will become greater by admitting our mistakes as if my company would make a mistake that can have detrimental effect on my surroundings I would be a sustainability-criminal not sharing this mistake to the rest of the worlds companies and organisations. Maybe they all wont listen but at least I have made my effort to share and I have given the opportunity for others to learn from my mistake.

If a company is responsible for sharing its failures it will minimise the risk that others make the same mistake, which would be a first stepping-stone to prevent large failures for the world in the future. Hence sharing your failures should be one of the first stepping-stones to good CSR so Bring on failure reports and share it, and we will all gain from it in the end.

Thank you failure!

/ Eva Alm


4 thoughts on “Lets talk Failures

  1. Awesome Eva, I agree with you!
    This is something we do in the womens groups I work with since we have all learned that it is the failure moments that creates growth and inovation.

  2. Similar to admitting failures, another LUMID alumnus shared an interesting website called “I Paid a Bribe” http://ipaidabribe.com/ created by a Kenyan guy.
    He wanted to create a platform where analytics on bribes could be seen publicly and not only the bad (paid bribes) but also the good (didn’t pay bribes) in order to fight corruption.

  3. Hi Ann, Thanks for your comment, yes I do know that website, they drive this issue and they also had one of theirs speaking on TED talks, check it out:

  4. dear eva, thanks for the post. so true what you’ve written!
    have you heard about the website http://www.admittingfailure.com/? there you can read about great failure stories and even share your own stories! Exactly what the development community need for recognizing failure as great learning opportunities!


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