“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”- Henry Ford There are a lot of problems in the world, poverty, inequality, disease. There are also a lot of good people in this world. These good people are full of great ideas, with great intentions, but these great ideas will never amount to anything, without proper planning and implementation. Sadly, failure is the result of many implemented ICT projects, as 70% of ICT4D projects fail. It is important that when starting a project developers consider all aspects of creating a successful project, and more importantly learn from the mistakes of their past failures and the failures of others.

There are many different reasons projects fail. In class we discussed how propers needs assessments are needed for a successful project. We discussed how lack of sustainability can lead to failure. When failures occur, they are oftentimes thrown under the rug. No one wants to admit failure. This makes it hard for future developers to learn from the past mistakes of others. With 70% of ICT4D projects failing, they are likely repeating mistakes.

Failfaire was established to sweep the failures out from under the rug. This project recognizes ICT4D failures, and allows the creators implementers of the failed projects to explain why the project did not work out. It encourages conversation, and growth.The creators of failure say “At FAILFaire we want to recognize the failures: the pilots that never got anywhere, the applications that are not delivering, the projects that are not having any measurable impact on the lives of people, and the cultural or technical problems that arise.” They believe that sharing success stories is not enough, and that talking about failures can help the future developers make better decisions.

Without acknowledging the problems we have with current and past projects, it will be difficult for the the future of ICT4D to be successful. We need to take advantage of other people’s experience in order to be efficient as possible in making a difference in people’s lives.



2 responses to “#FAIL

  • hrenda

    There’s a common saying that reminds me of this issue: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This is what happens in ICT4D and other development initiatives when failures are swept under the rug. So many ideas are great in theory, but then in practice simply cannot work for one reason or another. It’s so important to talk about why projects fail because, chances are, if one project encounters a difficulty, others will encounter that same difficulty. I think FailFaire is awesome because it allows practitioners a platform and safe space to discuss what doesn’t work and realize improved methods for success.

  • jessports

    Be careful with statistics like this. You are citing the 70% failure rate reported by World Bank, I am guessing, but you don’t attribute it. There is NOT necessarily a 70% failure rate for ICT4D across the board.

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