Failure to Account for Jars of Raspberry Jam (in a Sandstorm)

Clerks and Copy-Boys or Winning the War? You can’t have both. A friend recently sent me a copy of a letter from the Duke to Wellington, August 1812, to the British Foreign Office, London. Just to put the letter in context. At the time, Wellington was on the way to Madrid, ‘dragging an army over […]

The James Reason Swiss Cheese Failure Model in 300 Seconds

James Reason Swiss Cheese Model. Source: BMJ, 2000 Mar 18:320(7237): 768-770 A while ago I was part of the Cardiff pilot of Practical Strategies for Learning from Failure (#LFFdigital). My job was to explain the James Reason Swiss Cheese Failure Model in 300 seconds (5 minutes). This is what I did. The Swiss Cheese Model of […]

Failure is Not an Option, and Neither is Blame, Most of the Time.

Here’s a quick quiz.  Where did the phrase ‘Failure is not an option’ originate?  Queen Boudicca AD 61, in her famous  rallying call to the Iceni Tribe before taking on the occupation forces of the Roman Empire. Chief Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel 1835. In his brief memo to all Great Western Railway staff, stressing the importance […]

Struggling with Learning from Failure? Just host a Cheese Fondue Party

Buried deeply in the recesses of our kitchen cupboards is a Le Creuset Cast Iron, Lifetime Guarantee, Fondue Set (somewhere near the automatic bread maker and the juice making thing). It was a wedding present and represented the height of 1980’s sophistication… apparently. It’s never been used as far as I can remember. All that boiling […]

Good Practice Case Studies, No #Failure? You’re Doing It Wrong.

Good practice case studies are like Hollywood movie trailers…… they only show you the best bits of what happened (with some exceptions). Sorry if that’s upset anyone, I am trying to be helpful. There is a great deal that can be learnt from the things that ‘didn’t quite go to plan’ (failure in many cases). […]

Corporate Amnesia: Deliberately Forgetting Failure Can Be Hard Work

The recent VW emissions scandal has brought together two interesting ideas, corporate amnesia and learning from failure. Instead of learning lessons from failure and retaining them in the corporate memory (so you don’t make the same mistakes in the future), what if organisations adopted the opposite approach? What if an organisation took action to deliberately […]

Loving and Learning from Failure. Great idea, but how does it work?

“Accept that failure will happen and learn the lessons”. That could be a classic from the dictionary of  “easy to say, hard to do” inspirational quotes. You know the ones, they get posted all over Facebook with backgrounds of epic landscapes or golden sunsets. I fully agree with the sentiment, but how does this work in a […]