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Brooklyn's newly opened Museum of Failure celebrates bad ideas, silly designs and overhyped products

Museum of Failure opens in Brooklyn
Museum of Failure opens in Brooklyn 02:11

NEW YORK -  A new museum in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn proves that even the most successful businesses can sometimes have very bad ideas. 

The newly opened Museum of Failure is a place that celebrates bad ideas, silly designs and overhyped products that never really took off. 

Consider the 2011 Bic for Her pens, developed and marketed to women. The only difference was the glitter and the higher price tag. 

Or how about Google Glass, a brand of smart glasses that raised some red flags regarding privacy. Or another example, the Rejuvenique Electric Facial Mask from 1999, a beauty product that shocks the face with electrical stimulation but looks like the stuff of nightmares.

After residencies around the world, the exhibit has found a temporary home in Industry City, its first time on the East Coast. 

The exhibit is curated by Swedish psychologist and innovation researcher Dr. Samuel West, and houses more than 150 items he considers commercial flops. 

"A failure is when your efforts don't lead to the expected or desired results," Dr. West tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger. 

The items range from a famous Soviet car, to the now-discontinued Segway scooters, to a massive set of metal-tipped darts – a lawn game that used to be sold to kids. 

"What were my parents thinking? They were like, 'Here you go, guys. Here are some weapons for you to throw at each other, dinner's at six,'" recalls Jim Somoza, Managing Director of Industry City.  

The exhibit features a strange-looking "hula chair," a machine which promised to give its users abs while they watch a movie or do some work. However, when one sits down, the silly rocking and spinning motions make one unable to focus on anything else. 

"It felt very 'on brand' for us. We take a lot of risks doing a project like this and we have had a lot of tenants that are entrepreneurial who take a lot of risks and who have had their fair share of failures, but that have turned into successes, and it felt right," Somoza explains regarding the exhibit's location in Industry City. Seventeen thousand square feet of sad, absurd, sometimes even hilarious lessons in life and business.

"My research is focused on helping organizations to be more innovative. And one of the big obstacles to innovation is the fear of failure. So I was playing with this idea, how can I communicate the research findings and the importance of accepting failure?" explains West.

Because as most risk-takers will tell you, sometimes you need to fail to go forward. 

The Museum of Failure will be open through mid-May with a possible extension into June. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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