Fail Fair: A Showcase of Social Impact Technology Projects Gone Wrong

Problem Statement

This session will help program and technology folks avoid wasting time and money by failing to take into account critical parts of any project: people and context. Participants will leave with practical tips useful to an organization of any size.

Your technology project is probably chaotic. Between stakeholders, clients, existing systems, donors, and your actual job duties, chances are everything won’t go right the first time. That’s totally okay. Seriously. This session will help you fail better–by asking difficult questions of yourselves and your clients. We’ll talk about projects that didn’t go according to plan, and how to recognize and adapt to failure inside and out of your organization.

We’ll share stories and evidence showing why listening to client feedback is a key practice for understanding people and context. And we’ll help connect you with the tools, ideas and practices you need to transcend the chaos and fail your way into better projects.

Keith Porcaro
Social Impact Lab
Head of Technology and Development, General Counsel

Megan Campbell
Feedback Labs
Manager of Research and Learning
A systems design engineer by training, Megan has over a decade of experience promoting adaptive implementation in international development. She lived for five years in Malawi, working with Engineers Without Borders Canada to help national and local government officers experiment and develop new ways to improve water and sanitation service delivery. As Co-Director of EWB’s program in Malawi, Megan focused on finding ways to strengthen formal and informal feedback loops in the Malawian water and sanitation sector. She firmly believes that helping information travel within a system is a key prerequisite for learning and iterative improvement. Upon her return to Canada Megan took on the management of Engineers Without Borders’ incubation portfolio. In that role, Megan mentored and supported early stage social enterprises working to transform service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, Megan worked with the Global Delivery Initiative secretariat at the World Bank to promote a common language with which to explore service delivery challenges and solutions. Megan is an Action Canada fellow and advisor to Fail Forward, and cheers with futility for the Toronto Blue Jays. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.