The Museum of Failure

The Museum of Failure


I’m in Helsingborg, in Sweden, to film a museum. And normally I don’t travel just to film museums, because most museums — science, natural history — are pretty much the same the world over. But this museum is not only interesting,
it’s also unique. Welcome to the Museum of Failure. 80-90% of all innovation projects fail. Everybody in the business knows this. And where are these failures? Companies sweep them under the carpet
and pretend they don’t exist. The Museum of Failure takes these failed products,
puts them on display, so that everybody can learn from them. The criteria that a product
has to meet to be here is: that it was an innovation,
and that it was a failure. and the failure is a deviation
from expected, desired outcomes. (I didn’t know Apple even had a gaming console!) No, this is their hidden, dark secret(!) This one was supposed to measure
the EEG of a dog’s brain and then translate those mental states
into human voice. Of course, utter nonsense.
It’s completely impossible. I’ve gotten one legal threat from New York. We’re in Sweden, you can’t sue me(!) Kultur Hotellet, that runs this gallery space, are generously allowing us to be here
for three or four months. This space isn’t permanent, but the Museum is permanent
in downtown Helsingborg. I’d say about a third of the stuff
I’ve bought on eBay, the other third I’ve gotten on specialty forums. Some of them have been donated,
which is great. Some of them just come by my office, and say
“I want to give you this”, you know? One of them was a Palm Pilot:
I took it, but I can’t put it on display
because the Palm Pilot was a success. Two of these items I’ve bought
in dark alleys paying cash only. Can’t tell you which ones they are(!) All of which leads to one
fairly obvious question: What happens if the Museum of Failure… fails? One serious concern that I do have is: when a product is overhyped, and then when it’s launched,
it doesn’t meet those expectations, then there’s a big risk of failure. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous
that the Museum of Failure would flop! It would have to be on display
at its own museum, so… The Museum of Failure is like one of these
perpetual, everlasting machines. It can never fail(!) Thank you very much to Samuel West
and all the team at the Museum of Failure.

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