Organizers often have questions about how Fail Festivals might fit into their event. Over the the years these are the three most common questions and the best answers.

Got your own? Ask me anything!


1. Do we have to say “failure”?

The first question organizers often have is if they need to call the event a “Fail Festival” or use the word “failure” in the event description. This hesitancy to talk about failure is the whole reason Fail Festivals exist.

We need to get beyond thinking that the word “failure” is somehow a black mark, and come to accept that failure is a natural byproduct of innovation and risk-taking. So the word “failure” should be front and center in the event title and description. The taboo of “failure” also really helps to generate excitement for the event.


2. Will anyone want to talk about their failures?

Next, organizers are usually concerned that they will not be able to find anyone who wants to talk about their failures in front of their peers or in a public forum. In all the history of Fail Festivals, this has never happened.

In fact, there is usually a great excitement and relief to talk about professional failures and organizers need to sort through the prospective presenters and be judicious in who they choose to make sure Fail Festival presenters are diverse and representative of the event participants.


3. Do we want our organization associated with failure?

Organizers are sometimes fearful that a Fail Festival may be misconstrued by board members or external parties to mean that an organization condones failure or that the organization itself is a failure.

Yet, when put into the context of learning from failure to be a more nimble and effective organization, board members and external parties usually see Fail Festivals as indicating that an organization is seeking to be innovative and cutting edge.

In addition, Fail Festivals are now annual events for in a wide variety of successful organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI 360, the Florida Philanthropic Network, Plan International, and United Methodist Communications.

Celebrating failure as a mark of leadership and innovation