[Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)

Everton Zanella Alvarenga tom at wikimedia.org
Sun Mar 24 18:57:44 UTC 2013

Hi, Pine.

On Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM, ENWP Pine <deyntestiss at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Tom, I'm glad that you studied the IEP.

I did this in the beginning mainly through Jessie Wild's support, who
always kept articulating the SF staff for improve the education group
learnings, and Nitika Tandon, now at CIS - a pity I barely talk to Nitika
since a long time ago, although I have called her independently to learn
more once.

Although I have studied, we should have had more time for that. And I
believe now with the learning team this will be improved at WMF. I'll share
here also some thoughts I sent to my colleagues at the former global
develoment efforts mainling list...

"I discovered some time ago an organization with interesting ideas
regarding failures, Admiting Failure <http://www.admittingfailure.com/>.
They say in the main page

"We have a conundrum. It is really hard to talk about failure. Admitting
Failure is here to help. This is a community and a resource, created to
establish new levels of transparency, collaboration and innovation within
civil society.

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning
underground. No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and
innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about
their failures. Because the only truly "bad" failure is one that's

Pretty interesting. :)

Also, I discovered an interesting article of professor Daniel Dennett these
days, which I would like also to recommend, How to make
where I quote

"The main difference between science and stage magic is that in science you
make your mistakes in public. You show them off, so that everybody can
learn from them--not just yourself. This way, you get the benefit of
everybody else's experience, and not just your own idiosyncratic path
through the space of mistakes. This, by the way, is what makes us so much
smarter than every other species. It is not so much that our brains are
bigger or more powerful, but that we share the benefits that our individual
brains have won by their individual histories of trial and error.

The secret is knowing when and how to make mistakes, so that nobody gets
hurt and everybody can learn from the experience. It is amazing to me how
many really smart people don't understand this. I know distinguished
researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to
acknowledge that they were wrong about something--even something quite
trivial. What they have never noticed, apparently, is that the earth does
not swallow people up when they say, "Oops, you're right. I guess I made a
mistake." You will find that people love pointing out your mistakes. If
they are generous-spirited, they will appreciate you more for giving them
the opportunity to help, and acknowledging it when they succeed, and if
they are mean-spirited they will enjoy showing you up. Either way, you--and
we all--win."

Which reminded me a TED talk of Igor Nikolic on Complex Adaptive
Systems<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS0zj_dYeBE> I
saw sometime ago, where he says

"What we really do is make mistakes all the time. The question is, how can
we make mistakes in such a way we can recover from them? How do we do
social experiments? [...] How do we do without making a big mess? How do we
try different things in a environment without distroying it? And how do we
learn from things that went wrong? That is something that we really have to

We have to grow. What do I mean by that? It has to be a step-by-step thing
evolving, adapting, learning. You cannot jump in the future. [...] And
maybe most importantly, we have to do it together.""

Best wishes,


Everton Zanella Alvarenga (also Tom)
"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful
than a life spent doing nothing."

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