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Sweden’s Museum of Failures pays homage to products that flopped

The Verge logo The Verge 18/06/2017 Dani Deahl
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Sweden's Museum of Failure opens June 7th (PA)

Anyone remember the marketing catastrophe that was Bic for Her? Or what about the Ford Edsel, which lost so much money that the name “Edsel” became synonymous with failure? These are among the gems featured at Sweden’s newly-opened Museum of Failures, a shrine for mankind’s most spectacular product flops.

Curated by 43-year-old clinical psychologist Samuel West, the museum sits in the Swedish city of Helsingborg where it displays 51 products that were meant to innovate, but failed to do so.

While it’s easy to cluck at terrible products like the $200 TwitterPeek (a device which could only access Twitter), West’s intention with the museum is purely altruistic. “We know that 80 to 90 percent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them,” he says, “And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, is learn from them.”

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If there’s anything we can do from these failures, is learn from them

Some items in the museum were the result of brands trying to diversify, like iconic ‘90s drink Crystal Pepsi (which was actually brought back briefly in 2016). Some solved problems in odd and clunky ways, like DivX “disposable” DVDs, a rental format variation where the DVD was only watchable for 48 hours after its initial viewing. Regardless of flaw, all the products in the exhibit tried to innovate in their particular field. "I genuinely believe that as a society we underestimate failure," West told NBC News. "We are too obsessed with success."

Case in point — included in the display is a 1993 Apple Newton. Though the personal digital assistant suffered from poor handwriting software and a high price, it eventually led Apple to create the iPhone and iPad.

Watch the video above to see West talk us through some of his favorite failures featured in the museum. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys spoilers (or don’t plan on going to Sweden anytime soon), check out a video walkthrough of the exhibit here.

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