Those Scandis. Always making the rest of the world look bad.
They’ve already got some of the best public services, most gorgeous landscapes and beautiful people in the world.
But just to make sure the rest of the world really knows how much it sucks in comparison to Sweden, they’ve set up a ‘Museum of Failures’, displaying the best and worst of humanity’s f*ck-ups - from Colgate Frozen Lasagna, to green ketchup, to BIC’s ‘Pen for Her’ (a product which, as museum founder Sam West put it, ‘just should never have existed in the first place.’)
The real reason behind this museum is, of course, much more noble than showing up the rest of the world - it’s to change the way we think about failure, showcasing it as much as we do our successes to recognize that it’s something we should celebrate, not hide.
We see failures as a waste of time and resources, and often, if we’re looking at someone’s track record, a reason not to trust them - why would you hire someone who’s messed up?
But actually, we’re misinterpreting failure as something that takes you back to Square 1, rather than a necessary step in the path to success. In economics, people talk about ‘sunk costs’ - the idea that you need to spend money on something you’ll never get back as part of the package towards getting it right.
“We know that 80 to 90 per cent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them, you don’t see them, people don’t talk about them,” West says. “And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, is learn from them.”
Of course, some of the stuff in the museum is just a pure fail. But the comic value is definitely there - and considering the museum charges 100 krona ($11) for entry, it’s paying off for Sweden’s culture industry - and for the egos of the many would-be-entrepreneurs who will walk through its doors and take comfort in the fact that they’re not the first people to have a really, really terrible idea.