When failure looks like success: Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy explain

The global effort to bring clean water to Bangladesh appeared to be a huge success—twice. But each time, the success contained the seeds of epic failure. The overarching message? Success requires ongoing vigilance. Don’t assume the mission is accomplished.

In the April 2011 Harvard Business Review article, Vision Statement: When Failure Looks Like Success, PopTech's Andrew Zolli along with Ann Marie Healy unpack the mirage of success associated with a 30+ year project to bring clean water to Bangledesh. In a nutshell: A lack of potable water led to a massive well-building project initiated by UNICEF in the early 1970s - followed by the discovery, in the early 80s, that the water from the wells was causing arsenic poisoning.  A multimillion dollar attempt to fix the wells and educate the public was deemed a success until villagers were unintentionally stigmatized. What can be learned from this utter and repeated failure? Take a closer look at the visualization to get the whole story. 

Image: Harvard Business Review

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