Skip to content

Little Rock

Failing Forward in action

"[I'm now able] to look at a failed process and not take it as a personal failing".

Little Rock Government Employee

Top barriers to Failing Forward

  • Confusion among staff regarding whether they can or should try new things

  • Perception that some staff are resistant to changing the status quo

  • Fear of the retaliation or personal blame assignment for speaking up about challenges

  • Poor internal communications

Top ideas to embrace Failing Forward

  • Implement systems that both institutionalize evaluation of new/existing programs for potential improvements and provide staff with the time/space to discuss failure

  • Review department procedures and policies to ensure overarching alignment

  • Create 'Ideas Committee' to promote innovation at all levels

  • Incorporate learning from failure into staff trainings and policies and procedures for new programs

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.

Access the digital experience