King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia runs its highly anticipated two-week Winter Enrichment Program every January for students, staff, faculty, researchers, and community members of KAUST and other educational institutions. As part of a theme that explored "resilience" it wanted to celebrate those who have withstood adversity and unexpected challenges, which often lead to strange outcomes and even outright failure, on the path to innovation and success.
The university tasked formula D_ with designing a pop-up touring exhibition that would be easy to install, disassemble, and move. It needed to showcase positive failure and normalise it as part of the research process as it was important for students and researchers to understand the core message that failure is not something to be considered debilitating and humiliating; rather it is something to be expected and even appreciated as it is an opportunity to learn and grow because the obstacles often spark innovative thinking, which results in new ways of tackling problems and obtaining results. That knowledge can then be applied in later work or to future projects.
To get this message across formula D_ designed a multilingual informational showcase wall called the "Hall of Failure", a twist on the usual idea of a hall of fame that takes pride of place in many institutions. Using photographic portraits, biographic information, bite-sized writeups, and quotes, the wall profiled nearly 30 examples of scientists,