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Learning to Embrace the F word….. No, not that one!

Two leading third sector organisations are teaming up to unveil a brand new conferencing event, as they bid to revolutionise the management of charities.

Upshot, a digital impact measurement organisation, and the Sports Think Tank, an independent think tank dedicated to UK sporting policy, have joined forces to curate ‘The F Word’, an event which seeks to explore how third sector organisations can work together to learn from their failures and develop best practice strategies for dealing with them.

Held at London’s City Hall on October 19th, the one-day conference will bring together organisations from the world of sport, government and beyond to discuss the potential for adopting ‘Black Box Thinking’ within the third sector.

The strategy has been used primarily within the airline industry, where information provided through aircraft data recorders has been used to aid the development of new best practice documentation. Prominent journalist and broadcaster, Matthew Syed, is a particular advocate of this approach, having published a book on the subject in September 2015.

If adopted in the third sector, organisations would be able to take a similarly analytic approach to industrial failures, with companies joining forces to ensure the same mistakes are not made again in future.

The event will give industry representatives the opportunity to hear from a number of prominent speakers, including a senior representative from the London Mayor’s Office, Google and leading UK charities. There will be further opportunities to take part in extensive workshops to analyse previous practices employed by third sector bodies.

Preeti Shetty, Head of Upshot, said: “As an organisation that is involved in monitoring and evaluation and helping non-profits measure the impact of their work, we constantly stress the value of learning. Learning what works but more importantly what doesn’t.

“Silicon Valley, and most venture backed start-ups, wear failure as a badge of honour. The airline industry shares their learnings with their whole sector when things go wrong. Surely it is time the third sector comes together to do the same. Our hope for this event is to create an open environment to discuss The F Word and to learn from each other’s failings.”

Andy Reed, Director of Sports Think Tank, said: “Having read Black Box Thinking and worked with some start-ups in the sport tech sector I realised that ‘failing fast’ was not just a cliché but something I admired in young entrepreneurs. Seeing Street League in their 2017 Annual Report admitting where they had not achieved everything they set out to do, I was keen to see more of this honesty. But this will only happen if we can create a culture of trust between funders, projects, organisations and the media that understand that failure – The F Word – is a necessary part of us making improvements in how we work.

“We want to model this practise ourselves and create an environment where we openly discuss what we get wrong. The events, training and resources we create are to help develop a new open culture – where we co-create the solutions for others to use and practise”.

Key Details


There are only 100 tickets available so book your place now!

Location: London’s Living Room, London City Hall, 110 The Queens Walk, London, SE1 2AA

Time/Date: 9am – 6pm, 19th October 2018

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