Jeff Bezos knows a little something about innovation and what it can mean for an individual, a company, a city, a county or even the world. Now, the Amazon founder is giving back to his community in the form of museum experience designed to celebrate Seattle as an innovation hub and inspire youth to think creatively.
Opening Saturday is the Bezos Center for Innovation at the The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. Back in August 2011, Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced that they were donating $10 million for the project, marking the largest contribution to the museum in its 59-year history.
Bezos spoke for 40 minutes today in front of MOHAI members and hundreds of students. He lauded Seattle as a bubbling hub for entrepreneurship.
“We joke that it’s the rain. Maybe we have more time to invent things here in Seattle because we’re inside, I don’t know,” Bezos said. “But I do know that if you want to be an innovator, this is a fantastic place to be.”
“We like to invent and do new things,” he said. “Sometimes those ideas turn into failures, and that’s OK.”
He later said that the most successful trait of innovators is to be OK with failure.
“Without a willingness to fail, you can’t innovate,” Bezos said.
The exhibit, spanning 4,000 square feet on in MOHAI’s Grand Atrium, is the result of two years of planning and features a bevy of cool, interactive experiences from an “Idea Lab,” to the “Patent Tree.” It also educates people on how ideas eventually turn into full-blown businesses, using companies like Amazon — of course — REI and Starbucks as examples. The center will host several events and programs throughout the year, beginning with Saturday’s all-day grand opening event.
We’ll have more from his talk in a bit. In the meantime, check out pictures of the Bezos Center for Innovation below.
Editor’s note: MOHAI is a GeekWire sponsor, partnering on the launch of the Seattle 10, a list of ten fast-moving and prominent startups in the region. More details will be unveiled about the project next week.