Failure Inspiring Innovation

The Development Impact Lab (DIL) is prepared for failure. Most would agree that risk taking is essential to innovation, whether we’re talking about creating a simple hand-washing station or a state-of-the art suspension bridge. At the same time, researchers from all disciplines engineering and economics among them – are prone to highlighting successes while downplaying ambiguous research results, misguided technologies, and projects that fail to achieve their desired impact. We fear humiliation and the curtailment of donor interest. Yet open discussion about what doesn’t work, in addition to what works, is critical to our eventual success as innovators. We at DIL, like so many others working towards social change, believe strongly that there should be “no silent failures” in development.

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