The Museum of Failure celebrates ‘failures,’ the often-ignored aspect of innovation. The museum celebrates over 100 failed products and services from the world’s most iconic companies. If you’ve ever believed that failures are simply stepping stones to success, this museum is a testament to that belief.
Why Do We Need a Museum of Failure Anyway?
Even the biggest names in the industry have their off days. For every monumental success like the iPhone or Ford Mustang, there are equally memorable flops like Newtons and Betamaxes. It’s easy to remember the wins, but this museum reminds us of the importance of those not-so-great moments.
Learning Through When Not Winning
Dr. Samuel West, the brain behind this venture, believed that our fear of failure often stops us from trying new things. He saw that even big companies can get cold feet when it comes to innovation. Through the museum, he wanted to tell us: that it’s okay to mess up. As long as we learn and grow, it’s all part of the journey. And let’s face it, some of these failures make for pretty entertaining stories.
Oops Moments from Brands We Love
Take Hasbro, for instance. In a bid to offer an alternative to the Barbie doll in the 1960s, Hasbro launched “Little Miss No Name.” A doll dressed in rags with large, expressive eyes and an outstretched hand. The doll was meant to teach compassion. However, the doll inadvertently scared many children, leading to its quick discontinuation.
Their heart was in the right place, teaching compassion to kids. But, with her sad eyes and tattered clothes, she ended up more in the “creepy doll” territory than “life lessons.“
Then there’s Segway, the two-wheeled personal transporter launched in 2001. With expectations of revolutionizing transport and being “bigger than the Internet”, it didn’t meet the lofty dreams. Today, the Segway stands as a poignant reminder that even the most technologically advanced products can falter if they don’t align with people’s real-world needs.
Back in 1985, feeling the heat from Pepsi and their catchy “Pepsi Challenge,” Coca-Cola decided to switch things up. They introduced a sweeter drink, the “New Coke,” pushing the beloved original Coke off the shelves.
However, fans miss their old drink! Imagine receiving 400,000 phone calls and letters from fans, all sharing their heartfelt disappointment. Realizing their slip, within just three months, Coca-Cola brought back the original flavor, now dubbed “Coca-Cola Classic.” It goes to show, that sometimes the classics are classics for a reason.
Everyone’s Doing It
The beauty of the museum is that it doesn’t pick sides. Failures from all around the world find a home here. Even from places like Germany, known for their precision and innovation. Because messing up isn’t an East or West thing; it’s a human thing.
However, the most crucial takeaway is to turn the narrative around failure. Elon Musk is an industry leader. But he is a great example that shows how true innovation is unattainable without risks and occasional failures. Companies that play it safe, like Blockbuster, Kodak, and Facit, often become cautionary tales.
At the end of the museum tour, visitors encounter the “Failure Confession Wall.” Here, they can pen down their experiences, whether humorous tales of misadventures or thoughtful confessions. This will not only humanize the concept of failure but also foster an environment of acceptance and learning.
Since its beginning in Sweden, the museum has embarked on a global tour. The museum has expanded to cities like Los Angeles, Shanghai, and many more. Its universal appeal is a testament to the shared experiences of failures and the desire to learn from them.
The Museum of Failure isn’t just about products that didn’t make it. It’s a shared space of understanding and camaraderie. In a world chasing perfection, it’s refreshing to see a spot celebrating our shared, imperfect journey. Here’s to more missteps, lessons, and the stories we’ll tell!