The theme for this year’s Annual Forum is Dare to Fail on the Road to Discovery, inspired by keynote speaker Peter Sim’s best-selling book, ‘Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries’.
With the event just a month away, Council executive director Kris Kewitsch took some time recently to reflect on taking risks, learning from failure, and the importance of making little bets.
Can you tell us about a time you took a risk and it didn’t work out? What did you learn?
While with Target, I helped pilot a program that brings 25 pounds of food to every student at partner schools once a month to help ensure that kids get the nourishment they need to properly learn. The initial pilot found that the food selection caused families to not take full advantage of the program, as they didn’t know how to prepare some of the food items offered. We partnered with the University of Minnesota Extension program to provide recipes for the food being distributed each week, along with samples of each recipe.
Why is it important for donors and nonprofits to take ‘little bets’ together?
Donors and nonprofits often have similar intentions when it comes to moving work forward, but each individual and organization brings different skills, expertise, or resources to the effort that must be encouraged and embraced. By taking the time to find new paths, ways to work, or things to improve upon, we have the chance to advance our goal of improving the community.
What advice would you have for young professionals about taking risks?
Be creative, think outside the box, and don’t be afraid to ask. The other key piece is to listen and find those around you who have similar values to partner and collaborate with.
You won’t want to miss this year’s Annual Forum where more than 300 nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and community leaders will come together to discuss how we can best work together and take risks to achieve collective impact.