I recently came across a fascinating and potentially groundbreaking blog called Admitting Failure. It is a blog created by staff at the Engineers Without Borders Canada that chronicles the failures of EWBC in order to learn from them. The most recent blog post is by someone from MSF, talking about how they failed to learn a lesson about emphasizing comprehensive health care rather than infectious disease treatment--even though countless evaluations had highlighted that fact.
And it got me thinking, how many organizations have institutionalized and/or centralized processes to transfer lessons learned from both success and failures? And what do these processes look like?
Here at Search for Common Ground, we have several ways that support programme learning and the transfer and institutionalization of lessons learned. Central to this is our commitment to publicly share evaluation reports on our website. At the programme level, after each evaluation has been completed we organize a post evaluation review where we reflect on the recommendations and findings and decide how we can use this information to improve our future programming. We also circulate key evaluation findings and lessons learned across the organization so that other colleagues can learn from these findings. We also look for opportunities to replicate successful models across our different country programmes. For example, we took our Radio for Peacebuilding in Africa model and replicated that in Asia. We have taken a successful model for women’s empowerment developed in Indonesia and developed modified versions of this in Pakistan, Burundi, Sri Lanka and Zanzibar.
As well as success, evaluations can often show what has not worked and we should be as keen to learn from these insights as from our successes.
So I am curious, how does your organization learn from failure? And how does your organization actually learn 'lessons learned'?
Join the conversation now at http://dmeforpeace.org/discuss/how-does-your-organization-learn-fai....