WATCH: A museum displays inventions that flopped to overcome stigma of failure

Image: Supplied

Image: Supplied

Published Sep 14, 2023


Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of it, a saying has it.  However, the stigma around failure remains strong.

The museum of Failure in Washington DC is a collection of failed products and services from around the world.

Such a swivelling chair to shake off extra kilos.

"The goal of the exhibition is the conversation about failure, and destigmatizing failure and to a certain extent, embracing it and understanding that it is a very important component if we want to innovate and solve big problems in the world, we're going to have to take some risks and try different things," exhibit organizer Johanna Guttmann says.

"Failures are actually a much better teacher than success, we learn a lot from failure and seeing that as part of the journey, and part of our path to innovation and success."

The travelling exhibit showcases over 150 products which flopped, such as Trump steaks, fish-flavoured water for cats. The exhibition originated in Sweden in 2017.

"The products that we are saying that they are failures are subjective, debatable, but it is about that conversation. So we are sort of having fun with it, we want to take away the stigma from it. So I think the fun factor makes it much more attractive to people," Guttmann explains.

One of the latest additions to the collection is Starbucks' coffee and olive oil drink launched this year, which seemingly sent some customers straight to the restrooms.

In the digital age, conversations about failure are essential, the exhibit organizer says.

"Today with social media, I believe that it's harder to fail. I think that people feel their failures are sort of amplified on social media. And it sort of follows you and it seems maybe larger than it actually is."

The Washington DC exhibition will run until November 5th.

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art exhibitions