The Institute of Brilliant Failures

Steffie Verstappen
Article by: Steffie Verstappen
The Institute of Brilliant Failures

In order to be able to face today’s extremely complex and multifaceted challenges, we need an overall new attitude toward failure. This is an important component of the type of “new leadership” that THNK is looking to promote. We believe that we need to openly recognize the overall lack of predictability that comes with most real change in the world and fundamentally alter the way in which we view and approach failure, so that we can use it to our maximum benefit. The Institute of Brilliant Failures does just that.


It was purely by chance that Columbus stumbled across America in 1492. His goal had been to find a faster trade route to the Far East, when what he discovered was an unknown continent. His experience inspired countless others to explore the world.


The Institute of Brilliant Failures aims to bring about a shift in the way we view failure. Time and time again, history has demonstrated that our most valuable experiences are more likely to come as mistakes than as successes. The important role that failure plays in the process of innovation merits a much more positive view: failure is an option! The institute wants to be a tribute to all of those who had the courage to try something different. We learn from failures and our failures may be a source of inspiration for others. Much is wasted in a culture where failure is viewed as unacceptable and few are prepared to take the necessary risk. Let’s share, is the message.


The Institute of Brilliant Failures is the brainchild of Dialogues, which is an initiative of ABN-AMRO.

To discover how to embrace and grow from failure, join the THNK Creative Leadership Program. Visit the program page to find out if you qualify or contact us at