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Failing Forward in action

"[We need to take] baby steps if we create an idea and walk it through before we move on or call it dead".

Dallas Government Employee

Top barriers to Failing Forward

  • Lack of inclusion in the development of the 'big picture' purpose of the Department

  • Lack of belief inability to change the status quo due to past failed initiatives

  • Daily responsibilities and other external pressures force teams to be reactive instead of proactive

  • Departments lack psychological safety necessary for the whole team to feel comfortable speaking up about known failures

Top ideas to embrace Failing Forward

  • Create a #StruggleBoard for teams to identify existing failures and challenges, and ask for support

  • Host a 'Mission Launch' Party to celebrate new mission that has an innovation and learning focus

  • Creat cross-divisional mentoring program to foster greater psychological safety across divisions

How to Fail (Forward)

A framework for fostering innovation in the public sector.

Drawing on our experience working with six local governments, we first investigate why it is so difficult for those in local government to learn from failures. Second, we consider what department leaders can do to build the conditions in which they and their teams can fail forward.

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