31 July 2009

Contracting Fail

I recently came across this post from Cliff at the Sunlight Labs blog, talking about their failed attempt to bid for a government contract (thanks to Dick for the link!). I say "their failed bid," but in fact I think it's more like the government's failure to get their bid. The current government environment is so insular, jargon-heavy and complex that a new company ends up facing all sorts of unnecessary barriers. Sunlight Labs ended up not even submitting their proposal.

But that's a discussion for another day.

What I want to comment on is their attitude to the whole thing. They looked at it as a learning and growing opportunity. They looked at it as a failure, yes, but a head-held-high kind of failure. Something to reflect on, learn from, and discuss with a wider community. They even acknowledged that, as it turns out, the project they'd planned to bid on was probably too big for their organization to effectively achieve. Now that is clearheaded humility and insightful self-awareness.

Their experience definitely gave me something to think about. I love their story, and I love the way Cliff tells it. And so we award Sunlight Labs the coveted Rogue Medal of Awesomeness.

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