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Annual Conference Image

The SEEP Network 
Annual Conference

October 2-4, 2017 Arlington, Virginia - USA

SEEP Fail Fest

© 2017 mari matsuri

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, 
this time more intelligently.

- Henry Ford

As individuals and organizations we must learn to not only accept, but to embrace, failure. We are dealing with increasingly complex problems in frequently unstable and unpredictable contexts. Our work requires innovation and risk taking, sometimes leading to unexpected and unfavorable outcomes.

The Fail Fest is designed to experience interacting with failures productively, build a culture of communicating failures in a way that maximizes learning, and generate ideas for applying this learning across member organizations.    

At this year’s Fail Fest, SEEP Members led story-sharing sessions in an intimate setting with groups of peers. Story tellers also received coaching from Ashley Good, founder of Fail Forward failure consultancy, to extract important learning from failure and maximize opportunities for meaningful learning on an organizational and personal level.  

SIX INTRIGUING FAIL FEST STORIES BY SEEP MEMBERS

WHEN WOMEN MUSHROOM FARMERS DON'T FIT THE PROFIT MAXIMIZING MOLD
Speaker: David R. Dyer, Director of Punjab Enabling Environment PMU (Asia Region), Chemonics
Session Description: You have the right crop, the technical know-how, and an unmet market demand– in theory you have the perfect formula to help beneficiaries make a lot of money! What happens when those beneficiaries aren’t interested in making a profit? Learn how this played out for mushroom farmers in Sri Lanka.

HOW TO BUILD GREAT AG-TECH (SPOILER, IT'S NOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY)
Speaker: Sybil Chidiac, Senior Regional Director, West Africa, Grameen Foundation
Session DescriptionGrameen Foundation developed a mobile software application called 'AgroTech SmartEx' for low-cost extension delivery in Ghana. Despite developing a strong tool and receiving positive small holder farmer feedback, the pilot is ending, and so is AgroTech. Why? Come learn how tech for development is more about business model innovation than technology innovation.

MAPPING SMALL HOLDER FARMER LAND - HARDER THAN WE THOUGHT
Speaker: Genzo Yamamoto, Director of Knowledge Management, Opportunity International
Session Description: What could go wrong using GPS technology to map smallholder farmer land in order to give appropriate loan sizes? Apparently a lot of things...

EMPOWERING GIRLS OR NOT - BRAC'S FAILURE ON ITS HOME TURF
Speaker: Scott MacMillan, Senior Advisor and Devon McLorg Ritzer, Education Program Manager, BRAC USA
Session Description: It was a face-palm moment for BRAC. It saw huge success in Uganda with "girl power" clubs offering loans and skills training. Girls were 48% more likely to earn their own income and teen pregnancy fell 34%. In BRAC's native Bangladesh, however, the program flopped due to pervasive social norms.

RE(SETTING) OUR COURSE
Speaker: Joy Souligny, Director of Operations, FINCA Impact Finance
Session DescriptionHow do you face the challenge of accepting that what was once your bold innovative move may now be inhibiting innovation? How do you decide when it's time to evolve while not abandoning your core identity? Sometimes letting go is key to transformative change.

A MISMATCH OF CULTURES, OBJECTIVES AND INCENTIVES 
Speaker: Amy Davis, Chief of Party, Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa, Catholic Relief Services
Session Description: We had energy, talent, money, players and time – promising objectives, a market and a potential business case – so why don’t we have a product? In 2014, CRS set out to design a complimentary long-term savings product for SILC (Savings and Internal Lending) members using a mobile platform for rural outreach—to date the few groups willing to jump through the KYC hoops and open formal accounts are still transporting their deposits to the nearest bank branch.

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