Finland Celebrates Failure

The creator of this beloved game is a major supporter of Failure Day.

According to Finns, failure is a reminder of success.  Well as they began to celebrate the second annual failure day on Thursday, October 13th, it was this idea that they hoped Finnish people would adopt.  The day was created to be a stimulant for people taking risks.

Finland is a risk averse country and their economy is not doing too well at the moment. So, to stimulate growth, the government decided to host an annual National Failure Day.  The organizers said that this day was created to highlight Finland’s needs, in this case, thousands of new businesses and over 200,000 new jobs.  To help create publicity and support for the day, famous risk-taking Finns such as Nokia’s chair of the board of directors Jorma Ollila, Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio Mobile, which created the addicting mobile game Angry Birds, and Finland’s men’s ice hockey coach, Jukka Jalone showed their support for the day.  They also shared their stories of failure and shared how failure motivated their success.

Finland’s government cites fear of failure as the number one cause for not starting a Finnish company.  “The most important thing is to keep trying. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes don’t. Our basic attitude at Rovio is that we’re good in learning,” says Peter Vesterbacka.  This is the philosophy the day suggests.  Universities, people and businesses in Finland have embraced this day and its success is attributed to the inspirational marketing campaign.  Oddly enough, considering the holiday is called national FAILURE day, the day adopts a supportive and inspiring nature.

I think the day is possibly titled wrong because it is not failure Finland is seeking, but rather risk.  I would rather have the day named something positive, as this would not highlight the major fears of the Finnish people.  As a student at the university, hearing speakers’ perceptions of failure and accounts of catastrophic disappointment would be quite grim.  I agree with the concept but in the future (flag day by 2020 is the goal), I would consider a rethinking of the name.