Earlier in the post The Charm of Imperfection we wrote about figure-ground reversal or negative space: in art it is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. Have a look at this brilliant but difficult to see perception tricks.
There are many Innovation Awards. to name a few: the Chicago Innovation Awards, the Philips Innovation Award, the Science Innovation Award, the Tech Awards, the Accenture Innovation Awards, The BIG Innovation Awards; the list is endless.
But what about the negative space: Awards for Brilliant Failures?
One of the most interesting failures is that of the Museum of Failed Products. Robert McMath – a marketing professional – intended to accumulate a reference library of consumer products. Starting in the 1960s he started to purchase and preserve a sample of every new item he could find. The collection soon outgrew his office and he moved it into a converted granary, where it continued to grow rapidly.
What McMath did not take into account was that most products fail – so that his collection was overwhelmingly made up of products that did not survive the test of the marketplace.
The insight that ‘most products fail’ proved to be the making of McMath’s career. The collection itself – now owned and operated by GfK Custom Research North America – is now regularly visited by consumer product manufacturing executives eager to avoid mistakes they or their competitors have made in the past.
What are your nominees for 2017? What can we learn from it?