FailCon sounds as if it was a lot of fun. How could a bunch of people getting together and talking about their failures. The Wired covereage of the conference has this great bit on iterative sketching and failure:
Consulting firm Adaptive Path’s Brandon Schauer counseled companies to avoid failure by going out and finding their target users, in order to figure out what they need. Then, the key is to build ‘empathy’ for those needs into the product.
But more importantly, companies need to learn how to fail in the right ways.
Schauer points to a sketch online that supposedly is the original sketch of Twitter — which looks much like the current (and wildly popular) service as it is today.
“This is how we tell stories of brilliance and innovation, like Newton having the idea of gravity just coming upon him,” Schauer said. “But that’s not actually how things work.”
By contrast, when his company works with companies, they go through many design sketches, with participants finding their fourth sketch in a row is the best one, far better than the first.
I'd love to see a similar conference organized here in the UK.