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Learning From Failure 2020 - What CARE’s evaluations tell us about how to improve our work

Resource type
Author/contributor
Title
Learning From Failure 2020 - What CARE’s evaluations tell us about how to improve our work
Abstract
“Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” --Samuel Beckett Here’s my favorite part of that quote: the ultimate goal is not a lack of failure; it’s better failures. That’s good news for CARE, because we just published round two of our Learning From Failure initiative, and…I know this will surprise everyone…we haven’t stopped failures yet. We do have some hopeful signs that we’re failing better; or at least, that we’re improving on some concrete weaknesses we identified in the first round. It’s an interesting process to launch the second phase of learning from failure. The first round, we didn’t know what we were going to find. We spent as much time talking about how it was the first-ever report of its kind as we did about the actual failures. Our case study admitted, “It's still very early to see specific development impacts.” Round two isn’t quite the same. It’s not new anymore, so there’s less excitement at having invented something. We’re not discovering data and themes for the first time. In a lot of ways, the stakes are higher. Round two of learning from failure becomes an exercise in continuous performance improvement, rather than a journey of discovery. If we don’t see improvements, we don’t have the excuse that it’s too early to tell. It also takes a sustained commitment. Launching an exploratory exercise at a small scale is easy, especially when no one quite knows what the answers will be. Pulling together a few pieces of content over a few months is pretty straightforward. It takes some staying power—and real support from leadership—to keep up the work over time, especially in the middle of a pandemic. That’s even more true once we’ve seen one round of results and had a chance to understand the work that it takes to improve.
Institution
CARE
Date
2020
Pages
6
Language
en
Library Catalog
Zotero
Citation
CARE. (2020). Learning From Failure 2020 - What CARE’s evaluations tell us about how to improve our work (p. 6). CARE. https://usaidlearninglab.org/lab-notes/fail-again-fail-better