Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Sept/Oct My Turn: Always an Option
NOTHING CURDLES MY CREATIVITY like feeling I need to come up with a good idea right here and now. For example, I’d been futzing with this lead way too long and boring myself silly trying. Then I got up for another cup of coffee, and as I put the cream back in the fridge, those first four words popped into my head. Prize-winning, not, but I’ll bet it made you look.
One way to stifle yourself is with too much pressure: focusing too hard or too long, demanding immediate, constant, or total success. Another is to be too easy on yourself, thinking you’ll develop sensational designs and execute them to perfection without focus, discipline, hard work, high standards, or luck. None of those alone will guarantee success — nor will all of them together.
In June, an edgy new institution opened that is exuberantly devoted to another key to success. Including some really spectacular screw-ups by large, well-known, very successful companies, the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden, is the brainchild of Dr. Samuel West. An innovation researcher with a doctorate in institutional psyschology, West argues that with 80 to 90 percent of all innovations failing, innovation requires failure, which deserves much more appreciation than it gets.
The premiere exhibit includes some 60 products that worked well enough to have gone through design and development and made it to market, but did not meet expectations — West’s definition of failure. Some, like Sony’s Betamax, are widely held to be better products than their winning competitors. Unlike the VCR that beat it out, the Betamax lost the rental market, and says BusinessInsider.com, though it took a while, that was that. In some cases, relentless innovation made the product obsolete. After vanquishing Betamax, the once-successful VCR was sidelined by DVDs, and then the whole video rental business succumbed to newer-fangled streaming.
Colgate frozen dinners (ewwww, just reading that puts a weird taste in my mouth), were, in three words, bad brand extension. Yet some fabulous flops proved to be the goad of a later triumph. After the demise of the costly Apple Newton, reports Business Insider, Steve Jobs focused on a new approach to personal computing and later debuted the iPhone.
Need inspiration, comfort in your floundering, or want a good laugh? Visit www.museumoffailure.se — better still, if you’re in that area, while you’re online see if they’ve nailed down a time and place yet for a proposed NYC pop-up in September.
Don’t be afraid to contribute an effort that went bust, either: your own or another’s. “We welcome any suggestions,” the site proclaims. “The crazier the better.” Success takes some strange forms, especially at the Museum of Failure.
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group. Her column, My Turn: From the Editor, appears in each issue of the magazine; “Always an Option” appears in the September/October, 2017 issue.
Find More in the September/October 2017 Issue
Learn easy torch and hammer techniques to texture metal, torch firing enamel, and simple chain making in jewelry making demos for earrings, pendants, necklaces, and bracelets. See what’s new in aluminum wire stock and wire working tools, and discover the inspiration behind revivalist jewelry designs. All that and more in the September/October 2017 digital issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is available now in digital and print format.
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