Siyuan Yin, Marketing, The Wharton School
Abstract: Failures often contains useful lessons, yet individuals are reluctant to share information about their failures with others. In addition, consumers are less likely to seek information about product failures than product successes. Several obstacles prevent individuals from learning from failures. Not only do people hold overly simplistic perceptions of failures, but they also often misattribute failures to personal, rather than situational factors. These obstacles limit the lessons individuals learn from failures and diminish experimentation that risks failure, but can be essential to speeding individuals on the path to success. In this project, we investigate the process of sharing lessons from failures. We explore failure sharing information in both innovation and consumer settings. We postulate that interventions to increase sharing of failures can boost learning, increase the likelihood of creating a learning culture, and increase trust and reciprocal information sharing among teams and consumers. Further we examine the positive effects of sharing failures on interpersonal and in-group/out-group interaction at different stages of relationship (e.g., initial formation and stable relationship) and the effects on repeated interaction (e.g., a future relationship).