1492642196481 - Bizarre innovations that never made it: Museum of Failure embraces idea we learn from our mistakes

Bizarre innovations that never made it: Museum of Failure embraces idea we learn from our mistakes

A frozen beef lasagne marketed by toothpaste brand Colgate, a motorbike-scented perfume by Harley Davidson and a Donald Trump board game are among the exhibits on display in Sweden’s new Museum of Failure. 

The brainchild of organisational psychologist Dr Samuel West, the museum, set to open in June, is premised on the idea that we learn from our mistakes; that failures are indeed to be celebrated, The Guardian reported.  

“The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide a fascinating learning experience,” the Helsingborg-based museum proclaims on its website. 

The more than 60 showcased products and services from around the world shed light on why innovations fail. 

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Apple Newtown’s handwriting recognition product, for example, was notoriously faulty, while the Twitterpeak – a device designed to capitalise on the then-growing popularity of Twitter and the Blackberry – is a classic example of combining two useful things to create a useless one, the report noted.

Despite doing nothing but look at Twitter, the Twitterpeak couldn’t display an entire tweet on its screen. 

Bic’s “For Her” pens, meanwhile, show what happens when you take a useful item and idea (in this case market segmentation) and take them too far. Not surprisingly, women didn’t exactly clamour for the floral-patterned biros.

While over-innovation lies behind the failure of many showcased products and services, a few are infamous examples of failure to keep up with changing technology.

Blockbuster’s DVD box and Kodak’s clunky first-generation digital camera might incite nostalgia in some, but pity or even scorn in others. The kids, of course, are likely to simply look at them with bewilderment.

Not everyone, however, is comfortable with the idea of celebrating failure, particularly when their own bad ideas are in the spotlight.

Colgate, the report noted, refused to co-operate with West on the lasagne exhibit, leaving him to recreate the retro package himself.   

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