The FailExpo: Introducing a New Mindset

When you fall off a horse, do you get back on quickly, hoping no one saw you? Or, in a funnier, self-aware way, do you pull yourself out of the muck and attend a “Fail Expo” to teach others to use a bigger saddle? The 2nd Rechallenge International Forum “ConnAction”, in conjunction with the FailExpo in Chungbuk poses this exact dynamic to its attendees – presenting a new culture where mistakes are celebrated without the constant fear of failure.

Because why just celebrate successes, and not mistakes?

The second Forum was held on October 13th in South Korea, and hosted by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) under minister Lee Sang-min.
Its predecessor was held last year and represented an effort between the government as well as non-government promoters to normalize failure, and show the value of accepting a renewed challenge, or “Rechallenge”.

The date, October 13th, has symbolic meaning. The Forum carries on an international movement that started in Finland, namely the Day of Failure, which, while not quite a holiday, nonetheless spreads an uplifting sentiment about the positive outcomes of failure for the country.

The Forum welcomed experts and people with experiences on the matter to discuss the failures, and which possible new challenges could be derived from them. In this second round of the event, the culture of using failure as a social asset and promoting it as an institutional milieu was focused upon more specifically.

Following an opening ceremony at the Chungbuk venue, a number of sessions were held, on the subject of Failure Assetization and a Daring Challenge, which consisted of Q&As, discussions and presentations.
As a demonstration of the success of the new, (most certainly not!) failproof mindset, local citizens were asked to share their experiences with making their failures work for them as assets. This was followed by more talks and performances.

In a direct approach to work through experienced failures, experts entered dialogues with the people that had lived through them, specific policy tasks being the end goal.
Attendees included the President of the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society Mona Ismail, the Ambassador of Finland to Korea Pekka Metso, Noh Junyong, the Director of the KAIST Center for Ambitious Failure and Koo Bonkeum, who is Director General of the Local Innovations Bureau of MOIS. They discussed what factors within cultures or on an institutional level may adversely affect the possibilities of rechallenging and sharing experiences following failures.
They were joined by Lee Yunsock and Kang Kihoon, who advocated for ways to encourage risky challenges and to keep the spirits up.

An online forum for everyone

For those who could not be present themselves, the opening ceremony in the Forum was streamed on YouTube, on multiple channels belonging to MOIS (Korean), the local province (Korean)as well as the Fail Expo (English).
The contents of the expo are available on the website as well as the YouTube channel with both Korean and English translations. Perhaps a good place to take your grievances the next time the horse throws you off?

I hope the Rechallenge International Forum would provide a chance to raise awareness on the significance of the experience of failure as a social asset internationally, and that we would collect wisdom and share cases and experiences of different ways tried in different countries.

Koo Bonkeun, a Director responsible for local innovations of MOIS

A sentiment that many people, institutions and entire cultures could benefit from, when they stop hiding their failures in shame, and learn to make them work for everyone’s benefit. Or at the very least amusement.

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