The Museum of Failure has just opened in Sweden, replete with products launched at some point but failed to connect with the public.
In the world of museums, there are a few contributions that go a little beyond the curious. They are almost antimouse. In Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, there is a museum on broken relationships, in which those who have seen how a love relationship ended can send the remains of it. On their walls are exhibited therefore those things that once meant something to someone and now are only memories of a love that was not. In Boston, there is a Museum of Bad Art, the museum of paintings and other works that are so bad that they have to be seen. The museum compiles those works that cross the border of the worst in terms of art, which no critic would recommend to buy, in short. And now in Sweden, there is antimuseum of the world of business: it is the one that picks up the failures of brands and companies.
The Museum of Failure is located in Helsingborg, a Swedish town near Malmö. An expert psychologist in organisational psychology, Samuel West, is its creator. He was inspired by the Zagreb Routes Museum, although his work area is different. “I’m getting more and more tired of the success stories that feed us and are supposed to inspire us,” he told The Drum. “Okay, they can be inspiring, but they do not tell us much of what we can learn,” he adds.
In the museum, there are therefore no great success stories, but rather great stories of failure. A Harley Davidson perfume that no one wanted to buy, a DVD box from the late Blockbuster, the highly criticized Bic for Her pens or the Kodak products are some of the products that can be found in the collection, along with others much less known as The Nokia N-Gage, a smartphone that was also game console and that the company sold between 2003 and 2005, or as the TwitterPeck, a device that cost $ 200 and that only allowed access to Twitter (and although it appeared at the time Gilded Twitter, failed to connect with the market).
Also they are in the collection wizard Apple Newton, which lasted more than console sales Nokia in years but it was so expensive (and bad) that failed to connect with the market; Or the board game of Donald Trump, who despite not being able to sell what their creators expected lived between 1989 and 2004 (with the slogan “I’ve come back and you’re fired”).On the website of the museum, they point out that they are open to ideas to do other more experimental things with product failures, such as tastings of artisan beers that never went to anything or meals with dishes of “failed gourmet tastings in a posh restaurant”.
The lessons of the museum
The museum is a curiosity, true, but it can also serve to better understand the market and to learn certain lessons in terms of marketing and strategy. “The marketers can learn a lot from the museum”, assures its creator. Thus, for example, there are the cases of brands that leave their comfort zone without calculating the consequences, such as Colgate releasing frozen food or a Swedish gun manufacturer who thought it was a good idea to get into the toothpaste business. There are also “subtle” lessons, like thinking that being first is always the best.
And above all, seeing all this can be understood that, whatever is done and sold as sold, failure is one more element on the road to the new. As pointed responsible for the museum, “Innovation requires failure.” To find new ways and to launch new products, it is inevitable to make mistakes at some point.
The figures give you the reason. Although success stories and stories of great discoveries that change things always end up telling, most of the attempts to innovate end up in failure. Between 80 and 90% of innovative products end up failing.
Seeing the failure of others, especially when you have behind the big brands traditionally associated with success (among the museum pieces are products from Google or Coca-Cola, can help not only to better understand reality but also to feel less fear of Failure. Everyone is wrong and therefore should not be afraid to try the new.