Fail Bank

A positive community sharing failures and working to do better next time.

B34cc58457c7a848ed42dfd7b6e0f27b Submitted by Ben Matthews
Public Service Launchpad
How would you change local public services?

Too many people working in public services are afraid to fail and so hold back from potentially innovative work, or do fail but sweep it under the carpet rather than share lessons learned.

By creating a supportive community where people can share their ideas, why they went wrong and get support and advice, they can be given the space and encouraged to do new things, while also sharing what they've learnt for other people to build on.

  • Matt Clack
    02 Oct at 13:40

    I think this would be great- either in sparking similar projects elsewhere, or warning people off trying things that just won't work. I'd also love to see a culture developed where it was seen as better to try and fail than not to try at all!

    As with sites celebrating successes, these fails would need plenty of background information about the area that the proposal was being made in (geography, demographics, district/unitary) etc. Lots of great ideas fail because they're not politically viable, but this will change from one area to another. Also I think 'scale of fail' would be a really helpful aspect- was the project nearly successful but didn't secure the funding? Or did it seem like a great proposal at the beginning, but actually had loads of unintended consequences?

  • Ben Matthews
    07 Oct at 15:17

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback - appreciated!

    Your first points is exactly what I'm thinking:

    1. sparking similar projects elsewhere
    2. warning people off trying things that just won't work.
    3. developing a culture where it was seen as better to try and fail than not to try at all

    I hadn't thought about those details (geography, demographics, district/unitary) so will consider those, but trying to keep it simple for now.

    "Scale of fail" is a nice idea - again, encouraging to go further than others did or warning people of how far other projects got before they hit walls.

    Will let you know if I get the project up and running...

  • Claire Ritchie
    20 Nov at 11:26

    Like it. Its the reverse of sharing good practice! Public services are often guilty of duplicating things that dont work...

  • Claire Ritchie
    20 Nov at 11:27

    Like it. Its the reverse of sharing good practice! Public services are often guilty of duplicating things that dont work...

  • Peter Friedman
    28 Nov at 10:41

    I like the way that even the title of this project does my head in, as it rightly should!
    If this were an exclusively commercial venture, it would initially make any backer feel that they were being very brave and noble, but I think the inherent opportunities for publicity (on the principle that 'being a constant source of relevant, compelling and useful bad news is an irresistibly attractive resource for the media') will offer the necessary counterbalance that would make backing this a potential winner.
    That notion itself sparked a half-formed idea:
    How would such a project, which intuitively seems as if it would also be just as valuable to all concerned *outside* of the public sector, combine the objectives of reaching the largest possible audience/delivering the most value whilst at the same time making itself (and an ambitious outreach mission) financially sustainable over the long term?