Submit a failure

We would love to learn from your experience. Please submit a story of failure by clicking the button below and join those who are pushing for more humility, innovation and learning in the development sector.



  1. Marilyn McHarg
  2. Owen Scott
  3. Daniela Papi

Detailed failure submission guidelines

Suggested Structure

  • Context
  • Critical factors influencing the story such as location, project objectives, assumptions, hypothesis, timeline
  • Your actions/activities
  • What assumptions led you to act in this way?
  • The result/failure
  • Why the failure happened? What happened?
  • What does this mean for the assumptions and hypothesis raised earlier?
  • Why it was a failure, any big picture/long-term impacts
  • The learning (this is the most important part)
  • What was learned and changed because of the failure?
  • So what?
  • What are the results of the learning?
  • What change is likely to result?
  • What are the future implications for you personally, your workplace and/or the development sector?
  • How has the learning been institutionalized and/or influenced your work?
  • Recommendations for other projects in similar situations


  • Admit personal failures—no blaming. Be crazy-honest and genuinely self-critical of how you/your team/your organization could have done a better job.
  • Attach a picture of you and a picture relating to your work/failure
  • Expand acronyms

To make it rock

  • Bring in the human element, like a really honest blog post, write it as a human, not an academic
  • Use quotes/facts/numbers to add weight
  • Link your failure into bigger root causes and failure trends in development
  • Share your personal reflections on accepting failure and the process of being open about it

Your Failure

Your failure story is 0 words.

Your learning is 0 words.