Tuesday, 13 June 2017




Hi everyone! Today I want to put the spotlight on failure. The vast majority of the time when we talk about innovations (including in this column), we talk about success. We look at new things that work well, why they work, and see if we can adapt them to our own lives, careers, or projects. We emphasize success to the point that we become afraid to fail—whether it be fear of getting a low mark in class, fear of messing up a project at work, or fear of trusting someone in a relationship in case we get hurt.

Can we just avoid all the sad, rainy montages in our lives please? Source.

These fears aren't unfounded by any means. Especially in the museum world, one "failure" could cost you anything from a temporary setback, to next year's budget, to a wide-scale controversy spanning decades ("Into the Heart of Africa," anyone?).

Ouch... File that under: blunders we never want to make in our own careers. Source.

But nothing will ever change if we don't innovate, and a big part of successful innovation is accepting failure - or at least the risk of it. This concept was a point of inspiration for the founder of the Museum of Failure, Samuel West, who remarked that he was "kind of fed up with everybody's worshipping of success all the time". This museum, which just recently opened in Sweden, brings together some "failures" of innovation, including some by big-named brands like Google Glass and "Bic for Her." 

Wise words, from the front page of the Museum of Failure's website. Source.

We can learn a lot from both our own and others' failures. But beyond learning about specific examples, highlighting these failures in a museum context may normalize them, making those who visit more comfortable with accepting failure as a part of life and encouraging them to take their own risks on the road to success—it's OK to make mistakes!

"Don't let the haters stop you from doing your thang." Source.

After all, the true measure of success is not whether or not we fail - but rather if we have the courage to get up, learn from our mistakes, and try again. The very concept of innovation would not exist if we always played it safe.

So, fellow emerging museum professionals and enthusiasts, I encourage you all to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy as we go out and make our mark on the world!

(Just try not to get baked into a pie!) Source.

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