Turning Failure into Impact


The last year has brought a lot of change and a lot of new learnings. And from healthcare to poverty to racial justice, social good organizations are looking to find new solutions that meaningfully impact these important issues. However, as with any big social impact initiatives, that will require that organizations embrace learning from the inevitable failures along the way. That’s why today we’re bringing back an episode from August 2019 featuring Kate Robinson, executive director of the documentary film Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact.

Kate talked to host Steve MacLaughlin about how nonprofits and other social good organizations can use failure to make a bigger impact. Listen to the episode to hear what Kate Robinson has to say about learning culture, the questions that organizations should be asking to improve programs, and what role funders play in the process of failure and learning.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The purpose of Kate’s documentary, Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact
  • The characteristics of a learning culture
  • The pressure on nonprofits to appear effective
  • Using data as a tool to learn and drive decision making
  • Questions that organizations should ask to learn and improve programs
  • Overcoming resistance within organizations to “failing fast”
  • The dangers of not having a learning culture open to failure
  • The role of funders in adjusting perspectives to make learning from failure a bigger part of the equation
  • Building trust between funders and grantees to allow for more transparency

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Kate Robinson