News and Ideas

Celebrate Failure!

There are 3 things you must do if you want to create a culture of innovation:

  1. Hire for the diversity of thinking and skills.

  2. Create a physical and emotional environment that allows collaborative creativity to organically develop.

  3. Don’t just make failure an option - openly celebrate it.   

Nobody celebrates failure better than the Museum of Failure.  The permanent exhibition, curated by Dr. Samuel West, originally opened on June 7, 2017 in Helsingborg, Sweden.  But make it a point to check out the exhibit sometime before February 4th, as it comes through Los Angeles on its international tour.  It’s truly a unique experience - the chance to see over 100 innovation products and services from around the globe that have epically failed.  

Using a sense of humor and a genuine passion for innovation, the Museum of Failure provides the opportunity to explore these innovation failures - but more importantly, to learn from them.  

At first glance, it provides the opportunity to be the mother of all lookie-loos to some of the greatest innovation crash and burns of all time.   But dig past the ridicule that can only come with hindsight and the comfortable distance of not being in the middle of it, and you could actually learn something.

As I studied each of the exhibits, it became clear that human ingenuity and creativity, and the drive to innovate are in all of us across the globe.  The corporations that find their innovation efforts here should be proud of being included; it shows that they were at least trying to innovate and bring new things to the market.  Any company featured here should be given innovation props for those efforts alone.   If you don’t have a failure in this museum you're not innovating enough.

But there is a lot of innovation carnage here in the MoF.  Some of them colossal, expensive failures from smart people and successful companies.  But why did they “fail”? What prevented people from predicting the impending crash and burn?

These are smart people after all.  What can we learn about them that we can use to learn about ourselves before it is too late?

I plan to dedicate this time that the MoF is in Los Angeles to really take an in-depth look at how to learn from these failures.

Valuable Lesson From MoF #1

Sean Carney