Engagement + Marketing

From Epic Fail to Radical Hope

It takes a lot of courage to admit that you mistakenly ordered 40,000 elephants to be shot. But that's exactly what biologist Allan Savory did in the talk at TED2013 in Long Beach.

It was a terrible decision, he told the audience, but it caused him to devote his life to studying desertification and the impact of livestock. Savory’s subsequent research conceivably will result in a radical rethinking of the causes of desertification and allow us to reverse it —to regreen the desert — and save untold lives and suffering. (I hope you’ll watch the talk.)

It’s ironic, but as Convene wrote in the February cover story, that’s how failure works. It’s a place you probably will have to visit, maybe often, on your way to success. Being open  about failure is not only an act of courage, but of generosity, because admitting your mistakes could keep others from making the same ones.

You’ll find seven more TEDTalks about learning from failure here, on the TED blog.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.