The course of action:

At the start of the 19th century, so-called “ether and laughing gas parties” were very popular. Guests would inhale some ether fumes or laughing gas so that they could reach a cheerful high. A doctor in training named Long was present at one of these parties. It was at this party that Long bumped his leg against a table. To his astonishment, he felt no pain.

The result:

Long was the first person who used anaesthesia for surgical purposes.
At first he tested ether in minor operations only. In 1842, he performed the painless amputation of a patient’s toe.

The lesson:

Many ideas for new discoveries originate at times when people are having new experiences. Strikingly often, these experiences have little or no relation to the discovery.

Published by:
Muriel de Bont


The Museum of Failed Products

Robert McMath - a marketing professional - intended to accumulate a reference library of consumer products. The course of action was Starting in the 1960s he started to purchase and preserve a sample of every [...]

The Norwegian Linie Aquavit

The course of action: The concept of Linie Aquavit happened by accident in the 1800s. Aquavit (pronounced 'AH-keh'veet' and sometimes spelled "akvavit") is a potato-based liquor, flavored with caraway. Jørgen Lysholm owned a Aquavit distillery in [...]

Why failure is an option..

Contact us for lectures and courses


Or call Paul Iske +31 6 54 62 61 60 / Bas Ruyssenaars +31 6 14 21 33 47