Monday, March 14, 2011

Does Sport for Development need a Razzies?

A couple of months ago I came across a recent initiative from Engineers Without Borders. They launched a new website And a failure report for 2010. The motivation for these endeavors is based on a view that “The development community is failing… to learn from failure. Instead of recognizing these experiences as learning opportunities, we hide them away out of fear and embarrassment”.

When I first heard about this I thought it was connected to a ‘Fail Fair’. Similar to any conference I suppose, but it would encourage organizations to share previous difficulties and attempt to learn from them. I’ve done some research and now can’t remember where, or if, I heard about a ‘fail fair’, but it doesn't matter much.

I was recently able to sit down with a colleague and during our conversation I brought up the EWB idea and he had an interesting insight. He mentioned the fact that it might be antithetical for people from a sporting background to celebrate failure. As well, it might be difficult for organizations that need to compete with each other for funds to high light their failures. However, I think the most successful athletes and teams would admit that it is necessary and productive to learn from failure.

While I was in Lesotho I had thought about writing a post on the number of award ceremonies connected to sport for development – it might seem like I’m going off-topic, but I’ll bring it around in a second. Maybe I was just selectively focusing on it, but during the World Cup and even now it seems like there are quite a few sport for development award ceremonies. I think we have more award ceremonies than the entertainment industry. But, at least the entertainment industry has the Razzies

(I heard about this for the first time this year. It's an event held each year at the same time as the Oscars to recognize the worst. I believe this year The Last Airbender was the big winner/loser).

It would be a bit extreme and counter-productive to high light the worst sport for development initiatives, but I wonder how productive it is to constantly be patting ourselves on the back.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, this is something that not enough professions do, particularly in education. It is never a bad thing to admit a mistake, although it becomes a bad thing to make that mistake repeatedly.