Human Resources and Small Business & Startups

Failure event expands globally

December 24, 2014
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Failure: Lab spotlights the fall
Brian Vander Ark, lead singer and principal songwriter for The Verve Pipe, is a past "storyteller" at Failure:Lab Grand Rapids. Photo via

Failure is spreading around the world in the best way possible, thanks to a local company.

Failure:Lab in Grand Rapids produces events for people to present their personal and professional stories of failure to create a better sense of community and understanding around failure.

Failure worldwide

The company said last week that 15 independently organized Failure:Lab events will be produced in 2015, and three will be held in West Michigan: Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Hope College. The event will stretch from Anchorage, Alaska to Sydney.

Failure:Lab also revamped its website, making it easier for independent Failure:Lab events to expand globally.

Failure:Lab’s first global event took place in Chandigarh, India and saw more than 500 people attend.

“It all started on my front porch. It’s fun to think about,” said Jordan O’Neil, co-founder, Failure:Lab.

“In the past year, we have grown from a simple idea in our community to receiving dozens of inquiries from people who want Failure:Lab to come to their community," O'Neil said. "We're tapping into their desire to eliminate the fear, stigma and isolation around failure and giving people the tools they need to go ahead and do this on their own.”

Jonathan Williams, co-founder, Failure:Lab, added that what makes the format “so exciting and appealing is the lack of lessons and canned answers to adversity.”

“Our storytellers don’t share what they learned after their struggles," Williams said. "They just open up about the vulnerable truth. The audience is then invited into the story by sharing their thoughts, which are published online. By instigating this global conversation, we’re removing roadblocks to communication, community and ultimately innovation.”

Website for expansion

The website was created by Brightly in Grand Rapids and features tools that allow people to “plug and play” the Failure:Lab concept, O’Neil said.

The website allows for more mobile capability and features free video of all Failure:Lab stories.

The website took about five months to build and is Failure:Lab’s third version of its site.

O’Neil said the website is beautiful and making their dreams come true.

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