The Museum of Failure: What Can We Learn From It? by Jillian Haslam

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The Museum of Failure: What Can We Learn From it?

The Museum of Failure, as the name suggests, is a museum housing a collection of products and services that fell flat on their face as far as their success with the public goes.

Established in 2017 in Sweden, the concept was the brainchild of Samuel West, an organisational psychologist (not the actor) who was inspired by an even more bizarre concept during his visit to Zagreb, Croatia – the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The Museum of Failure drew international attention and its popularity has seen it make its way in different cities around the world as a pop-up museum.
It provides product flops with the 15 minutes of fame they never got to have in their heyday. The collection includes a fair share of items that were once billed the next big thing, a good deal of them a creation by some of the most recognisable brands in the world.

The Failed Inventions

Anyone remember Google Glass? If you are wondering why it has taken forever to officially be available to the public, well, that’s probably because it got shelved in the Museum of Failure.

Harley Davidson, one of the most iconic motorcycle brands in the world, never thought taking a different turn by launching the Harley Davidson Cologne would be a risk. After all, it’s a famous and well-respected brand so the potential for a company-branded perfume to be a hit among bikers and fans of the brand would be high, right? Wrong.

BiC, the disposable consumer product manufacturer best known for their ball pens and razors, came up with this idea to introduce pink and purple pens for women. They called it BiC for Her. The pen, which you can see on a famous episode on Ellen, proved a marketing faux pas that eventually saw it end up at, yup, the failed museum.

There was also the Rejuvenique Electric Facial Mask, a creepy looking mask that Monat promised would rejuvenate the face by shocking your face to stimulate the muscles. But this belonged more to the Museum of Horror than on dressing tables, so it is no surprise that it has since gone defunct.

There are a myriad items in the collection like these that became major flops. You can find them on the official website which continues to add to the collection with each epic fail.

Green Heinz ketchup, Colgate frozen lasagne, Crystal Pepsi (a clear soda), the BlaK coffee beverage by Coca-Cola, fat-free pringles…the list goes on.

Brilliant Idea

The whole idea behind the creation of the Museum of Failure, according to the website, was to provide insight into the ‘risky business of innovation’, noting that the crazier the idea the better.

Actually when you think about the museum concept, you can’t help but think it was a brilliant idea no matter how you choose to look at it.

The museum not only provides a great reference point for brand marketing and innovation departments, but the products themselves are a paragon of human creativity and ingenuity, their failure notwithstanding.

Some will call it madness. Others see it as creative art. Free thinking.

Whichever side of the divide you stand, one thing that we can all agree on is the fact that the human race has got to the point it is at today through hits and misses.

Never at any one point has it been a smooth curve on the graph. The peaks and troughs are but inevitable, no matter the field, each in all its variants. Science. Medicine. Engineering. Business. Technology. Yada yada yada.
It would be apt at this point to bring up Thomas Edison, but some choice words from Jules Verne, a historical French novelist, would ring true irrespective of field:

‘Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.’

Indeed. It is only through failure that we learn what works and what doesn’t. And that’s how creations get better.

Just the other day, Samsung, through the relentless quest to be the industry benchmark, released a ground-breaking phone aptly christened the Galaxy Fold. The futuristic smartphone has a design that allows you to fold it vertically through the middle.

But just before it was officially launched, the phone was first released to reviewers. And the feedback was anything but glowing. The phone was found to have embarrassing design quirks, leading to its recall. And back to the drawing board again the company went.

Lessons from the Museum of Failure

While it may seem like a depressing idea where the nostalgic go to hang out in melancholy at twilight, the Museum of Failure can actually teach us important lessons at a personal level.

For one, we learn that we cannot gain anything by not exploring our ideas. You need to be willing to take the plunge and get your ideas out there. It is only through trying that we know for sure if that million-dollar idea had potential or not.

What if the Harley Davidson perfume would have proved a major hit with the masses? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

When we fail, it is not like all is lost. There is the knowledge that we gain through failing, as Thomas Edison would categorically tell you. We learn what works and what does not, and how we can make adjustments that help us achieve the success we desire, albeit on a more solid foundation.

Anyone who has failed at some point in life and gone on to rise from the ashes will tell you nothing can replace the lessons learned through failure. Just ask around. Failure allows us to look at things from a different prism, gaining an invaluable experience that we otherwise could miss.

It is painful, but at the same time it provides us with an opportunity to reflect, therefore gaining a deeper understanding of life. Experience is the best teacher, they say.

Failure also teaches us that there is always room for improvement. By confronting our mistakes head on, the insightful feedback we glean from them gives us, like Samsung, a platform through which we can go back to the drawing board and make improvements. Failure isn’t the final nail in the coffin for our ideas, goals or dreams.

As Roy T. Bennett says: ‘Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. Learn from failure and keep moving forward.’

In truth, though, this would not be possible without a positive mindset. It is in our nature to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. But learn to view them as a lesson and things are bound to change for the better.

As well, owning up to our mistakes is never a bad thing. That’s the only way we can improve. Sometimes, we may clutch on straws when we fail, and come up with all sorts of excuses.

But by acknowledging our mistakes and looking at the situation from a glass-half-full perspective, the insightful feedback helps us highlight the faults in neon yellow, setting us up for success in future.

This too, requires that positive attitude.

Life Goes On

Let’s face it, failure is a tough pill to swallow. It can knock the wind right out of your sails, especially if it is something you really, really yearned for. You feel like the world is crumbling around you. You can’t even fathom how you’ll get past this.

But look, there is always a lesson or two to be learned from these situations that leave you on the floor. And it is up to you to glean what you can from them.

The world does not stop turning if things don’t work out the way you imagined them.

Sometimes, it can be hard to pick ourselves up, true, but at one point or another, we really need to. It is only to our detriment if we keep fixated on the failure.

You might need some time out to recollect yourself. But don’t forget that at the end of the day, life moves on. And so should you.

A Special Note from the Author

“Embrace Adversity, Unleash Greatness!

Once upon a time, in the heart of adversity, there lived a young girl named Jillian Haslam. Born into abject poverty in the city of Kolkata, her life seemed destined for despair. But little did the world know that within those hardships lay the seeds of greatness and resilience.

Jillian’s childhood was filled with struggles, facing hunger, homelessness, and the harsh realities of poverty. However, amidst the gloom, she discovered a glimmer of hope – education. Determined to change her fate, Jillian pursued knowledge with fervor, knowing that education was her ticket to a better life.

Through sheer determination and hard work, Jillian excelled in her studies. She didn’t let her circumstances define her, but instead, she let them fuel her dreams. Every challenge she faced became a stepping stone towards her ultimate goal – to break free from the shackles of poverty and create a life of abundance.

As the years passed, Jillian’s unwavering spirit caught the attention of a kind soul who offered her a chance to work for a prestigious organization. This opportunity opened doors she could only dream of before. With dedication and passion, Jillian climbed the ladder of success, proving that her past could not hold her back.

But Jillian’s journey didn’t stop there. Instead of forgetting her roots, she embraced her past and used it as a powerful tool to drive change. She founded initiatives to help underprivileged children like herself, providing them with the gift of education and hope.

Today, Jillian stands tall as a beacon of inspiration and a symbol of turning adversity into golden opportunities. Her voice echoes through her book, “A Voice Out of Poverty,” touching countless hearts and motivating others to rise above their circumstances.

In the face of challenges, lies the key to your transformation. Embrace your struggles, for they hold the power to unlock your true potential. Rise above adversity and let your resilience shine, turning every experience into a golden opportunity for growth and success!

#EmbraceTheJourney #UnleashYourPotential #TurningStrugglesIntoTriumphs #Adversity

A woman’s ascent from devastating poverty and childhood trauma to international standing as a prominent advocate for the poor and helpless.

As a young girl, Jillian Haslam saved a life. Herself tiny and aching from malnutrition, she stood for hours at a tea shop, begging for a ladle of milk to try and prevent her newborn sister from dying of starvation.

From the slums of Calcutta to the executive floors of a global bank, A Voice out of Poverty offers an unflinching look at one woman’s journey from destitution to success.

Throughout, Haslam demonstrates an inexhaustible drive to rise above adversity and find beacons of positivity in impossible circumstances. But her rise doesn’t stop at the top; she returns to her roots again and again to extend a hand to those left in the impoverished communities that she so narrowly escaped.

British by ancestry and born in India after its independence, Haslam and her family suffered degradation and prejudice. They were forced to live on the streets, flee danger in the middle of the night, and face persistent abuse and starvation.

This treacherous environment is the backdrop of an unlikely story of resilience and an unshakable family bond. From squalor and powerlessness, Haslam finds countless moments of grace, community, gratitude, and love.

A Voice out of Poverty is a raw and inspiring memoir that shows how beauty can be found in improbable places, and how “success” is not just the act of making it through. Rather, it is the act of reaching back to bring others with you.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Oh, come on now Jillu, it’s not that bad!” she said. The brusque tone harkened to how she’d counsel us not to yield to emotion. My mother relentlessly stressed that life could always have been harder. Never make a fuss. Be grateful for what you have, however paltry. Things can be worse.

I wasn’t appeased, and my mother could tell.

“We can get it cleaned up when we get back,” she added, wiping tears from my cheeks with a single thumb. Her other hand was trapped inside the hand of my younger sister, four-year-old Vanessa, who held on as if worried she’d fly away like a released balloon if she let go.

“Anyway, we’re leaving in a few days, and where we’re going is better.” More parental reassurance about greener pastures.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“To Mrs. Brown’s. She’s letting us sleep on the floor in her room for a while. It will be crowded but all of us will be together again.”

“You mean Daddy and Donna can go there too?” I asked, my mood brightening. I saw a ghost of a smile emerging on Vanessa’s face as she took it all in. We often lived apart as a family because of our circumstances.

“Yes, but we can only stay for a few weeks, and then we must find somewhere else again. But don’t worry, you know Daddy and I always find us something.”

“Okay,” I said, nodding.

We resumed shuffling down the streets, navigating mass congestion. I turned my head for a long look back at the old woman and her dogs. I felt a surge of empathy for her, alone in wet and dirty clothes, facing each day with the promise of nothing. Soon we’d have a roof over our heads in a family home while she’d continue to fend for herself in the unsympathetic and unforgiving slum streets. She’d continue to get wet and dirty. She’d continue to try to survive each day with no family to love and care for her; I felt grateful for what I had and prayed that someday she might have the same. As those thoughts flooded me, she gingerly placed sheets of old newspaper on the wet ground to sit on.

The rain fell a little harder.

About the Author:

Jillian Haslam is a remarkable individual with expertise in speaking on adversity and Resilience

With a distinguished 23-year career in banking, she brings a wealth of industry knowledge to her engagements. As an acclaimed author, her books A Voice Out of Poverty and 9 Steps to Overcome Adversity-A Handbook for Life have garnered critical acclaim including the prestigious Kirkus Star Review! Her extraordinary journey has earned her accolades, including the prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for her humanitarian contributions.

Jillian’s unique perspective and powerful storytelling have made her a sought-after speaker on the topics of adversity and resilience. She has inspired audiences around the world with her transformative message, helping individuals and organizations overcome challenges and achieve remarkable results. Her insights have been featured in major media outlets, including The Times, The Telegraph, The BBC, and The Week. Through her speaking engagements, Jillian empowers individuals and teams to harness the power of resilience, navigate adversity, and unlock their full potential. Her profound impact continues to resonate with audiences from various backgrounds, fostering a culture of strength, growth, and success.

Jillian Haslam’s expertise as a speaker on adversity and resilience, coupled with her extensive banking experience, has made her a trusted voice in the field. Her ability to inspire and guide others through their own journeys of overcoming obstacles sets her apart, making her a valuable asset to any event or organization seeking to cultivate resilience and achieve exceptional success.

Jillian currently lives in London with her husband.

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  1. Marisela Zuniga says

    Thank you for sharing this great excerpt, the book sounds very good

    • Thank you very much Marisela. The book has receive some very high profile endorsements from the Duchess of York, the Author of Slumdog Millionaire and many more, not to mention a Kirkus star review as well. A Hollywood Director described it as a story just out of Dickens,

  2. Thanks for hosting!

    • A huge thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions. the tour has been an eye opener, extremely well managed and I can’t wait to get started on my next book too. Sincere gratitude.Jillian

  3. Sounds like a great book.

  4. Bea LaRocca says

    Happy Friday! I hope that you have enjoyed your book tour as much as I have enjoyed reading about you and your work throughout this tour. I am looking forward to reading your book and hoping to see more from you in the future. Have a great weekend!

    • Thank you very much Bea. Sincere gratitude. The book has received some very high profile endorsements. All of the information can be found on my media kit at Yes, there will definitely be more books from me very soon. In fact, my next book is also ready (The Irrepressible Mind – 9 steps to overcome Adversity

  5. Marcy Meyer says

    I enjoyed the post.

  6. This book sounds incredible!

    • Thank you very much Sherry. I am very grateful to have received some very high profile endorsements from the Duchess of York, the Author of Slumdog Millionaire and many more, not to mention a Kirkus star review as well. A Hollywood Director described it as a story just out of Dickens,

  7. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • An absolute pleasure Kim. it has always been my intention to get the book into every little girl and boy’s hands to prove to them that its not what happens to you, its what you do about it.

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