Have you thought about the harm your social R&D project might cause?

Some reflection questions to consider as you experiment, iterate, and ‘fail forward.’

Experimentation is good, right?

In the social purpose world, it’s true that organizations have long been constrained by funding that values practiced methods over innovation, and the uncertainty that comes with it. Meanwhile, we’re in an era of massive, accelerated change, and increasingly complex social challenges. The status quo won’t cut it anymore.

But what happens when we lose sight of people in favour of innovation? When, for example, we go into a community with intent to prototype a ‘promising’ brand-new program, try out brand-new ways of delivering that program, learn a lot of useful information — then leave? What if the program fails? For whom does it hold promise? What promises? And who bears the brunt and costs of the ‘safe’ failures which inevitably happen in experimentation and innovation?

What can happen is this: the members

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