042: Beautiful Losers: Museum of Failure Founder Dr. Samuel West on Celebrating Losers

Tuesday 18th June 2019

More and more companies fall out of the market because their fear of experiments and innovation drives stagnation in their development. What are they missing? How can we overcome our fear of failure and see it as a learning tool instead? What are the benefits of recognizing the need for innovation and creativity? All this and much more in this week’s episode with Dr. Samuel West, who shares his experience and research on the benefits of failing.

You learn to walk by falling down – everything you know, you learn from failing. – Dr Samuel West


    1. We shouldn’t be scared of failure – we should embrace it as it helps us learn.


    1. Companies that don’t go with the flow of technology don’t have a chance for success.


    Creativity and innovation are encouraged by spontaneity and fun in the workplace.

At the start of this episode, we talked to Dr. Samuel West about the importance of embracing failure as a chance to develop yourself and making your endeavors even more successful. Then Dr. West explained his concept behind his Museum of Failure and told us about some of the more interesting exhibits he’s got on show. Afterwards, we got into the broader topic of introducing fun and improvisation into the workplace, discussing both the benefits and the risks of that model. Towards the end, Dr. West recapped why failure is an important asset to embrace and what constitutes a higher risk of failure.

Dr. West also talked about;

    • The public’s favorites from the Museum of Failures


    • Why it’s important for companies to be open to technological developments


    • The theoretical background behind encouraging both rationality and irrationality in the workplace


    • How not taking yourself seriously makes any activity easier


    • How the unique Silicon Valley ecosystem of recognizing failure contributes to success


    The effect of politics and socio-economic policies on entrepreneurship in the US

As a society, we’ve been educated to fear failure and to avoid it for the sake of success. By avoiding opportunity for creativity and innovation because we’re afraid of failing, we risk falling behind our competitors, who are swiftly moving with the times. Fun and doing things for the sake of it can sometimes lead to amazing, groundbreaking results – or not, but that’s okay. Imitating big risk-takers such as Amazon and Google and encouraging a positive and proactive attitude towards failure can help any company or individual maximize their potential to the fullest.

Guest Bio:

California-born Dr. Samuel West is a licensed clinical psychologist and innovation researcher. As director and curator of the acclaimed Museum of Failure, Dr. West looks to explore some of the biggest failures of well-known companies. He has also delivered various workshops and keynotes on the art of learning from failure and is the author of several books on the subject. Dr. West’s research interests revolve around the science of play and how playfulness can increase corporate productivity. Find out more about the Museum of Failure on MuseumofFailure.se. Visit Dr. West’s website on SamuelWest.se.

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