Amaz­ing fail­ures

Un­suc­cess­ful in­no­va­tions find fame in a Swedish mu­seum.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

CASED in glass and lit up by neon lights, the Don­ald Trump board game, the plas­tic bi­cy­cle, an elec­tric beauty mask, bot­tles of Green Ketchup and a host of other un­likely in­no­va­tions have found fame again in Swe­den’s Mu­seum of Fail­ure.

The mu­seum, one floor of a cul­tural cen­tre in the coastal town of Hels­ing­borg, is the work of psy­chol­o­gist Dr Sa­muel West, a 44-yearold Cal­i­for­nian who used to re­search how to make big com­pa­nies more in­no­va­tive.

“I was look­ing for a new way to com­mu­ni­cate re­search find­ings and stim­u­late a dis­cus­sion and in­ter­est in the whole con­cept of learn­ing from fail­ure and I thought an ex­hibit would be a fun way to do that,” West said.

Launch­ing in the sum­mer of 2017 with sup­port from the Swedish In­no­va­tion Fund, the ex­hi­bi­tion is made up of items that West col­lected and that were do­nated to him by vis­i­tors.

A steady stream of vis­i­tors stopped by the case hous­ing Trump: The Game, where play­ers trade real es­tate un­der the watch­ful eye of the game’s name­sake, rolling dice on which the num­ber six has been re­placed by a “T” be­cause “Trump al­ways wins”, West ex­plained.

Play­ers han­dle sums of money no smaller than 10 mil­lion fake dol­lars – “be­cause ev­ery­one’s a mil­lion­aire in Trump world”.

At the ex­hi­bi­tion’s en­trance, a spooky plas­tic mask gazes out at vis­i­tors from in­side a case – a beauty prod­uct re­leased by a US com­pany in the 1990s that was sup­posed to re­duce wrin­kles with elec­tric­ity.

Be­mused mem­bers of the pub­lic look at a Swedish bi­cy­cle re­leased in 1981 built from plas­tic that turned out not to be sturdy enough to sup­port its rider, as well as Heinz’s Green Ketchup and Coca Cola’s cof­fee-flavoured drink, the Coke BlaK.

Hav­ing chanced upon the mu­seum af­ter vis­it­ing a pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion on an­other floor, one vis­i­tor from France found West’s col­lec­tion of un­likely in­no­va­tions up­lift­ing. “I think you have to try ev­ery­thing,” said Clau­dine Co­chet, a pho­tog­ra­pher from near Paris.

“You have to try and af­ter you can talk it over.”

The mu­seum has turned out to be an un­ex­pected hit for cu­ra­tor West, with vis­it­ing ex­hibits in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia and Toronto in Canada.

West’s suc­cess in cel­e­brat­ing un­suc­cess­ful in­no­va­tions has brought him fame in the sea­side town where he started out, as he found out one morn­ing when he went to get break­fast at a nearby cafe.

“These peo­ple come in and shout ‘Hey! It’s Doc­tor Fail­ure!’,” he said, laugh­ing. “It’s cool. Some­one’s got to be Doc­tor Fail­ure.”

The mu­seum will ex­hibit in Shang­hai, China on Jan 18, fol­lowed by Mu­nich, Ger­many in late March.

A vis­i­tor look­ing at a dis­play on un­ssuc­cess­ful tech­no­log­i­cal prod­ucts, in­clud­ing the Twit­ter Peek, a hand-held de­vice that only sup­ports Twit­ter.

Trump: The Game was orig­i­nally re­leased in 1989.

Some of the dis­plays in­clude a Seg­way scooter, a plas­tic bi­cy­cle and a Sin­clair C5 elec­tric ve­hi­cle.

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