Intended for healthcare professionals


Why failure matters: five minutes with . . . Samuel West

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 11 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2013
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London, UK

The founder and curator of the Museum of Failure says we need to flaunt failures so we can learn from them

“Failure is inherent to the research process—observing results and then continuing with iterations to make progress. But the problem is that failure isn’t automatically communicated with the outside world. Even within the research community, where failure should be a given, publication bias means there is a huge problem with discussing and accepting failure.

“The Museum of Failure is a collection of innovations, including technologies or procedures, that failed, which is defined as deviating from a desired or expected outcome. I set it up because I wanted to stimulate discussion …

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