As you know, I enjoy traveling abroad each summer. This year I came across the most beautiful failure I have ever seen in Barcelona, Spain called Park Guell. In the early 1900's, Eusebi Guell hired the renowned modernism architect Antoni Gaudi to create a garden and public green spaces for a new housing development on a hill just outside of Barcelona. This housing development wasn’t a successful one, as the park at that time was far from town and only 2 houses of the proposed 60 were ever sold. However, it was here where Gaudi honed his skills as an architect/engineer and learned how to curve walls and bring the color and tile into his work that we see in his masterpiece La Sagrada Familia Church.
Although it was a failure as a real estate development, it is a monumental tourist success. When there was free admission, an estimated 9 million tourists per year would visit the park. In 2013, they established an entrance fee of 9 euros per person so they could maintain the site. Last year they had 3 million tourists visit the park for an annual budget of 27 million euros per year. You can't call this project a failure now. Time has a way of giving us all perspective about what success and failure looks like.
Jeanne Dau, MBA, CEDFP, is the President of Dau Consulting. For the past 20 years, she has coached hundreds of organizations on strategic planning, business development, sales, marketing, customer service, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. She has started and managed four successful businesses and has also directed business outreach departments for two universities. Jeanne is certified in many training programs and has been involved in the tourism industry and entrepreneurship education.