So bad, that they are good.
When Samuel West got sick of people worshipping success, he started looking at people’s failures in a different light. A light so different, that he will now put the – as oxymoronic as it sounds – best failures on display in the Museum of Failure, his brainchild, on June 7 in Sweden.
The museum will feature over sixty failed products from huge brands. The innovation researcher’s idea behind the museum is to celebrate the absurd turns that companies have taken in their product development in the past. For example, did you know that Colgate tried to sell frozen food a few decades ago?
The aim of the museum isn’t to mock those flops however. The hope is that by highlighting them, others can learn from their errors. One item the museum will display is the N-Gage by Nokia, that was on sale from 2003 to 2005 and released as a competitor to the Nintendo Gameboy. The gaming phone hybrid failed both as a phone and a gaming device terribly.
Then, there was Google Glass, that intended to bring a change to the world of wearable technology, but soon everyone realised that these ‘smartglasses’ were in fact, just a bit creepy and not useful at all. It was bullshit wrapped in expensive bullshit.
West thinks people can achieve something big after learning from their smaller failures. He hopes to destigmatise personal and professional failure. He has been collecting the products he will be putting on display over the last year. The Museum of Failure website reads,
Museum of Failure is a collection of interesting innovation failures. The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors a fascinating learning experience. The collection consists of over sixty failed products and services from around the world. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.
This was a short-lived mix of Coca-Cola and coffee, by Coca-Cola, inspired by… *drum-rolls* coffee. Because who doesn’t like coffee?! ( I don’t). It was discontinued once people made it clear they didn’t like its taste. BUT, there’s a petition on the Internet demanding its comeback. Not an utter failure after all.
Then there’s Rejuvenique Facial Mask… Sounds like some paste that you put on your face and wait for it to dry off, right? Wrong. This mask looks like something inspired by the Silence of The Lambs and was supposed to make the wearer more beautiful by delivering mild electric shocks to their face. The shocks apparently exercised the facial muscles, thus plumping the face and getting rid of wrinkles.
A company called Peek introduced Twitter Peek from which Twitter users could send tweets. Yes, that’s it. When smartphones started to take off in the market, the $200-priced device was taken off the market.
Apple devices weren’t always a success. Apple’s successor, Newton, a MessagePad and digital assistant, much like any of Apple’s devices from now didn’t work mainly because it was priced too high. In 1993, the Newton cost $699, which comes out to about $1,178 today after adjusting for inflation.
When the motorcycle brand tried to become a lifestyle brand, they tried their hands at everything and they came out with a cologne called the Legendary Harley Davidson. The brand launched it in 1996, but didn’t think one thing through, according to West, who pointed out that motorcycle fanatics aren’t known for being passionate about perfume.
Donald Trump seizes every opportunity in his hands. The current POTUS’ found one of the many failures a spot in the upcoming museum! Trump: The Game was released in 1989 and, like Monopoly, players had to buy and sell properties. It was discontinued within a year.
Then there was the infamous Bic for her pen, designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand. Because women need different pens, of course. It was launched in 2012 and did not last the year.
Look at its wonders though.
Here’s the curator of the museum talk about some of these failed products himself:
Anything you’d like to add to this?