Failure:Lab Takes the Story of Failure Around the World

By Amanda Lewan on January 5th, 2015 / Comments

Failure:Lab, a storytelling series that asks community members to share stories of failure, has built a movement growing outside of their hometown of Grand Rapids, MI.

The events company launched their first Failure:Lab event in Grand Rapids last year and hosted several more including a stop in Detroit. We were blown away by the deep emotional stories shared and the turnout of the Detroit event. Now, this startup has launched a new website to host lessons learned, and will take their events around the world.

Why failure? Co-founder and Managing Partner Austin Dean said the idea came from attending a TEDx event, a brand with a similar model to Failure:Lab.

“We heard a gentlemen speak at the time sharing a very personal story about failure and lessons learned. We really wanted to hone in on the story of failure,” said Dean. “People resonate with the vulnerability of that kind of message.”

In 2015, Failure:Lab will expand to 15 independently organized events including Sydney, Dubai, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Pittsburgh, Pa., Tulsa, Okla. and Anchorage, Alaska, among others you can find at

Dean said starting in Michigan has really helped them grow, forming partnerships with other companies including Brightly, the web and software company behind the Failure:Lab website.

“What’s great about being an entrepreneur here in Michigan is that if you ask for help, and you’re sincere, there are so many people willing to help you. We are no exception,” said Dean. “We’ve had a lot of support to help the events get off the ground.”

The story of failure is already resonating around the world. Listeners have been reaching out and asking to bring Failure:Lab to their hometowns. The best part of the job is what they set out to do: tell great stories.

“They really are interested in community building, connections, networks, and personal growth, growth of how to start new conversations in their cities. It’s turning into a movement,” said Dean.

But the best part of all? Hearing the stories told.

“For me personally, it’s been really great to hear from people all over the world. We’ve been able to hear incredible stories,” said Dean.

Check out some of the latest lessons learned and more from Failure:lab at their new website.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.