Last year I had the chance to do an interview with a former classmate and friend Lt. Col. Mark Weber on his thoughts regarding “Leadership, Learning, and Failure.” Three years ago Mark had gotten a request to rejoin General David Petraeus as he was appointed to take command of the war in Afghanistan. From a routine blood draw and examination it was discovered that what Mark thought had been an ulcer was in fact cancer. For the last few years, Mark has taken great care to share his journey in his fight against cancer illuminating his circumstances to help others in their fight. Frequently he didn’t have “answers” from the medical community so he decided to lead the assault himself, figuring it out along the way. In the summer of 2012 Mark decided to take control of writing his own narrative too, wanting to share not just his cancer journey but his life story in a book Tell My Sons. Like every father, he wanted to hand down his thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned for his sons.
In early 2007 I was planning to launch my first Failure Forum. The forums were a series of presentations (modeled after TED talks) with an ensuing discussion that were meant to examine internal innovation projects that had been shut down. We sought to understand what had been accomplished with the project, what had we learned from it, and what would we do differently next time. The truth was that many of the innovation projects were modeled after previous work.
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