Fail Faire DC 2011


Projects succeed, projects fail. The successes are reported on, the failures are filed away. Or, in the case of most international development and ICT4D projects, pushed under the proverbial rug. Well, its time to bring out the failures, with a sense of humor, and with an honest look at ourselves. Hence was born Fail Faire.

Fail Faire DC featured projects using ICT in international development that have, to put it simply, been a #FAIL. Busted, kaputt. Tongue firmly in cheek, we take a close look at what didn’t work and why projects fail amidst the ICTD hype.

We believe that only if we understand what DOESN’T WORK in this field and stop pushing our failures under the rug, can we collectively learn and get better, more effective, and have greater impact as we go forward.

Fail Faire DC 2011 happened on October 13th at the World Bank and was brought to you by the World Bank, Development Gateway, Inveneo, and Jphiego.

Featured Speakers

  • Dr. Tessie San Martin, CEO, Plan International USA
  • Ian Schuler, Internet Freedom Programs, U.S. Department of State
  • Erin Mote, Chief of Party, USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance
  • Andrea Bosch, ICT Advisor and Chief of Party, TILO Egypt, Creative Associates
  • Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, Vice President of Innovations & Medical Director, Jhpiego
  • Kristin Peterson, CEO & Co-founder, Inveneo
  • Brian Forde, President, Llamadas, S.A.
  • Allison Stone, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Peter Bauman, Conflict Specialist, International Relief & Development
  • Jacobo Quintanilla, Director of Humanitarian Media, Internews Network
  • Ed Anderson, World Bank, on their 70% ICT4D failure rate
  • Sean DeWitt, Technology Programs Manager, Grameen Foundation
  • Gerhard Pohl, Senior Director, Development Gateway

Post-Event Coverage

fail fest 2011

The learning was more than just in the room too. Online and in-person, here are several ways to stay in the FailFaireDC theme:

  1. Read Plan’s CEO on her experience. Dr. Tessie San Martin has a great write up of her thoughts on FailFaireDc and failure in general.
  2. Read the article. We had deep coverage, complete with the academic underpinnings to our erstwhile activities.
  3. Join Admitting Aid Failure, the second Aid Blog Forum. The aid bloggers are taking our idea to the Internets.
  4. Check out the FailFaireDC photos on Flickr. Relive your favorite slides and remember your favorite presenters.
  5. Engage via the #FailFaireDC hashtag on Twitter. During and after the event, #FailFaireDC was trending on Twitter as we discussed the larger themes and issues to improve ICT4D
  6. Look for a FailFaireNYC. Mobile Active is teaming with Unicef to have a FailFaire in New York City this December.

Most of all, remember to fail in everything you do. Only then are you showing leadership and innovation in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in scaling ICT and international development.