FailFaire in the NYT

The Jester is delighted to see the New York Times write about FailFaire, a series of events hosted by MobileActive, to allow ICT4D-ers to air project failures in the hopes of learning lessons. Katrin Verclas, the person behind MobileActive has always been a passionate, yet level-headed force in mobile phones for development. Hats off, with Jester bells jangling, to Katrin! Also to be congratulated is Mike Trucano at the World Bank, who apparently won the OLPC prize at a recent FailFaire; Mike is similarly level-headed in his work, advising governments on the potential pitfalls of national PCs for education programs. The Jester hopes to attend a FailFaire some day, but is currently stuck on the left coast.

The one comment the Jester has with respect to FailFaire would be for participants to consider the deeper reasons why certain kinds of ICT4D projects often fail — it’s not always that project implementation could have gone better if people had paid attention to X, Y, or Z. Sometimes, it’s that the project goal is fundamentally pointless or impossible — to fix what is at heart a human problem with technology.


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