Category Archives: Failure

Fallout: The Failure of Dominant Narratives

A dominant narrative is a story that takes on a life of it’s own: it becomes the accepted norm. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, all across the United States, tens of thousands of nuclear fallout shelters were built, nearly twenty … Continue reading

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12 Modes of Failure

Organisations fail for a broad range of reasons, but rarely for no reason at all. I found myself thinking about a taxonomy of failure: unless we deem failure to be the action of idiots and fools, we must be open … Continue reading

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‘Safety Making’ – 9 routes to failure

I used a phrase in the blog yesterday, and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since: “People are engaged in some kind of mass hysteria, and mass ‘safety making’”. ‘Safety Making’: I wrote the sentence on an impulse: i … Continue reading

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Designing a ‘Festival of Failure’. A #WorkingOutLoud post

Today i am sharing some elements of the design around failure: it’s for a one day ‘Festival of Failure’, a structured ‘sense making’ event, to act as the foundation for change. A celebration of failure is not about blame, but … Continue reading

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To Fail Fairly

I’m generally unconvinced when people say “it’s ok to fail”. Because it generally isn’t. Failing is typically rewarded with blame and loss. And it can be unfair: not unfair in the judgement, but in the distribution. When we fail, we … Continue reading

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The Post Hoc Rationalisation Fallacy

I suspect it’s true that many organisations are highly successful almost despite everything that they do in the formal space to make themselves so. They are successful not because of hierarchy, rules, systems, or control, but rather because they are … Continue reading

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Failure in Social Leadership: a case study for Mozilla

When Brendan Eich, newly installed boss at Mozilla resigned this week after only a month in role, it was largely because of a failure by that organisation to recognise the realities of the Social Age and the importance of Social … Continue reading

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