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The Museum of Failure Is a Smashing Success!

Rochel Burstyn

Some folks celebrate failure! In fact, there’s even a Museum of Failure. Apparently, failure can be just as interesting — or even more interesting — than success

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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I f you’ve ever gotten a zero on a test or an F on your report card, you probably weren’t very happy. Or maybe you’re a straight-A student, and you can’t envision anything less. But there are some folks out there who celebrate failure! In fact, there’s even a Museum of Failure. Apparently, failure can be just as interesting — or even more interesting — than success.

The Museum of Failure is only a year old. (It’s unknown if anyone ever attempted to build one before. Maybe they did but it failed!) It was created by Samuel West from Sweden. West is a clinical psychologist. He has a PhD in organizational psychology, which means he works with organizations that are supposed to be innovative and creative and are always trying to create the next best thing. Sam was fascinated to discover that the biggest roadblock for creativity is fear of failing. That means that people don’t even bother trying because they are scared they won’t succeed! And it wasn’t just big companies. Fear of failure is also common among regular folks.

After doing a lot of research on the subject, Sam had lots of information he wanted to share. But how? Should he write a book? A paper? Give seminars? Boring, boring, boring!

That’s when he came up with the idea to build a museum. 

Sam started contacting big-name companies and asking them about their flops. Funnily enough, no one wanted to admit to any. But he got the word out about what he was looking for, and soon he started gathering a collection of failed products. He even purchased some from retired employees who shared the flops of companies they no longer worked for.


Eventually, the Swedish Government Innovation Fund agreed to fund Sam’s museum idea, which enabled him to work on the museum full-time. In just one year, his idea grew into a highly popular museum with over 130 exhibits in two locations, Sweden and Los Angeles, as well as a traveling exhibit that has been taking bookings all over the world.

You could definitely say that the Museum of Failure is a smashing success!

Cool Exhibits in the Museum of Failure
 
The Plastic Bike

Made by Itera (a Swedish company)

Year 1992

Goal To replace the metal parts of a bike with plastic, making the traditional bike more sleek looking and modern.

Why it failed Plastic breaks! In extreme heat, it even melts!



Electric Facial Mask

Made by Rejuvenique

Year 1999

Goal If a person wore the mask for ten minutes a day for 30 days, it would provide a “workout for all 12 facial zones,” (what we’d call forehead, nose, and mouth) with all the force of a nine volt battery. It was supposed to make the wearer’s face more toned and beautiful.

Why it failed It looked spooky, more like a torture mask than a beauty mask. Most importantly, though, it didn’t work. Faces looked pretty much the same after the “beauty treatment” as before.



Edsel, A Car Model

Made by Ford

Year 1958

Goal To get people curious about and then to buy this trendy new car.

Why it failed The main reason it failed was because the advertising was so good that the car didn’t live up to expectations. Another reason: the name. Edsel was chosen because it was the name of founder Henry Ford’s son, but it wasn’t catchy, trendy, or impressive.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 701)

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