Another Forum Question

I told the audience at the Forum that because we recieved an overwhelming number of questions from the audience, I would ask some of them here on the blog and both Bill and Paul agreed to answer some of them. During the debate, we talked about how failure was part of taking risks and since both men thought philanthropy should embrace risk, it should be just fine with failure as a cost of doing business.

We discussed Paul’s willingness to admit failure such as the Hewlett’s release of their Hard Lessons report. So one of the audience questions was for Bill (who frequently cited his “intuition” as being the guiding force in his giving):

Bill, What’s an example of when you’ve failed? When your intuition was wrong?

I’ve often written about how failure is something that philanthropy needs to recognize as being normal and not the end of the world. I was glad to hear both Paul and Bill agree.

One Comment

  1. An example is a sculptor who wasted money to do a sculpture for a city for public display. I had worked with him before on two occasions and things had worked out well. On this occasion he did not buy the stone, he did not do the sculpture; he was unwilling to refund the money to me.

    Another example was over funding a new bilingual preschool in a remote rural area and they hired a teacher who was not bilingual. I had given the entire grant amount to the program and this was a mistake. Next time, give part of the grant to get started and if things go wrong, hold off until corrections are made.