Posted: January 21st, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: People | Tags: advice, colleagues, communication, future, hiring, job description, skills, storytelling, work | 13 Comments »
Photo by marcus_jb1973 on Flickr.
Update: Do you feel you fit into the profile below (and are you fluent in Dutch)? You might want to check out this internship/job opportunity at a new startup I’m involved in.
We’re looking for: People that help museums stay relevant in the 21st century. Job title: community manager, digital engagement officer, online marketeer, audience curator, hands-on project manager, educator (etc. etc.). Your profile: hmm…
In general, the debate on ‘21st century skills’ or – put differently – what we expect in terms of skills, attitudes, behaviour and knowledge from future colleagues is diverse and inspiring. In the museum-context, it might even be more complicated. Studying various reports of such skills (etc.), such as the excellent Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills (PDF) and a Dutch one by Kennisnet, most of the focus is on skills that help people design the future. Museums, obviously, and museum professionals also play an important role in maintaining the past. This duality is obvious in the ICOM definition:
A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development (‘future’), open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches (‘past’), communicates and exhibits (‘future’) the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education (‘future’), study (‘past’) and enjoyment (‘future’).
Note that I use ‘future’ and ‘past’ to make a distinction between the internal, traditional role of a museum and the outgoing, also-traditional-but-now-key-to-receiving-funds role that can be considered to focus on the future of the institution.
As museums realise they need to evolve in order to stay relevant, within them a continuous debate begins between the ‘past’ and the ‘future’. And, as much as the ‘traditional’ museum professionals need to be comfortable with the 21st century, the future professionals need to be comfortable with the traditional role of museums in society, which is probably why maybe the number 1 question I get from clients and at conferences is to help define a profile for the future museum professional. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 8th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Buildings | Tags: advice, community, ideas, leaving building, mobile museum, outreach, outside, projects, rotterdam, thoughts | 1 Comment »
Photo by Grant Hutchinson on Flickr.
At last week’s Ecsite conference Steven Snyder of the Franklin Institute posed a rather interesting dilemma: If the Franklin Institute wants to achieve its mission of inspiring a passion for learning about technology and science, they need to leave their building. Yet, at the same time they’ve just invested millions in a redevelopment, are seen as a building by their audience and get in most of their revenue because of the building. “How the heck,” to use Steven’s words, in such a case, “do you leave a building?”
In other words: Can outside become your primary side, even if you’ve had a roof over your head for the last n years?
Leaving a building, like leaving anything stable and safe, is all about opening up.
Once there are no more walls to hide behind, you’re really vulnerable and naked. That is incredibly scary and – to most of us – immediately blocks out the potential positive side effects of being in such a position: the need to work together, the renewed curiosity, the increase in serendipity…
A great example of an institution that has managed to leave their building and revived because of it, I think, is the Museum Rotterdam. I’ve written about their The City as Muse project before. The project searches for inspirational developments and initiatives among the people of Rotterdam and tries to connect this with the museum. At the moment they’re working with care givers, doing pop up events around town and (still) involving an audience otherwise alien to the institution. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 16th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: advice, books, creativity, ideas, list, organisation, play, test | No Comments »
Photo by Aaron on Flickr.com.
“In the organisation of the future, the decisions that matter won’t be taken in some high-tech war room, but on the front line,” says Tim Harford in Adapt. You, more than your CEO, will determine the success of your museum’s next grand project. True, she gives you the direction and funds and – if you’re lucky – the mandate and freedom to design mind-blowing products, but it’s your creativity, cleverness and skill that will make a difference in the end. Here are 7 ways in which I try to stay on top of things, and come up with great ideas for future projects.
- Plan playtime
Is your calendar always full as well? Plan playtime. Playtime is not just time you leave empty to do whatever, that doesn’t work and you’ll probably sacrifice it to to-do’s anyway. Playtime is for instance 2 hours to go to a great store and look around, or an afternoon to go through your old notebooks.
- Fill a random stuff folder
I have a folder called “playground” in the root of my project folders. It’s my digital scrapbook, full of random stuff. In it, I don’t worry about design conventions, budget, or even copyright (sorry!). It’s simply random stuff, like the pieces of an as of yet unknown puzzle. Look through it repeatedly, and maybe the picture will become clear.
- Learn basic coding and design tools
The rapidest form of prototyping is the prototyping you can do yourself in playtime in the random stuff folder. But it’s not just knowing how to code a simple programme and design its front: simply learning about coding and design helps to spark creativity as well. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 19th, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: advice, future, innovation, participation, plans, speaking, strategy, workshops | No Comments »
Photo by Sofia Torrão on Flickr.
This post will answer the number one question I’ve been asked after it became known the Museum of National History would cease to exist in January: What will I do next year? And to take away some worries immediately, I won’t be gone from the cultural sector. At least not entirely, as I will explain shortly.
Starting right after New Year I will be working on what we call a “strategy start-up”. Together with the talented digital producer, music enthusiast and my good friend Erwin Elling, I will start a company that will help others to use the opportunities of the 21st century strategically and sustainably, and create campaigns and strategies that add value to brands.
We call it a strategy start-up because on the one hand we will use the no-nonsense mindset of start-ups in approaching challenges, while at the same time we will look beyond the short-term objectives that often dominate (digital) projects.
Ever more organisations have taken successful first steps in the digital domain, and can pride themselves in an established traditional presence. Today, however, they’re faced with the question “what’s next?” How to turn Facebook fans into visitors? How to connect with completely new target groups? How to build a meaningful relationship with our audience that spans the physical and digital domain? How to make some money doing so?
That’s where we come in. Together with our future clients we will give workshops, training, co-create successful campaigns and strategy, develop a vision for the coming years and help you make sense of the immense possibilities of the 21st century. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 20th, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Technology | Tags: advice, do's and don'ts, improvements, simple, tips, website | 2 Comments »
Photo by Luis Alberto on Flickr.com.
Last year around this time I made a list of 28 32 simple and low-budget things you can do with new media for your cultural institution. And it worked… at least in the Netherlands. A flock of blue birds has landed on cultural websites, Foursquare checkins pay for most of my coffee and 2.0 initiatives are launched for things as exciting as needlework samplers. In short: the world has become a wonderful place.
However, going through literally 100s of cultural websites in the last days for our annual Month of History has clearly shown me we’re not there yet. On many websites, it’s more likely to accidentally hit a like button than find the opening hours.
So, a reprise. Again, this is not for the big boys out there with the stunning new media budgets and multi-person web teams. Here’s 12 things a volunteer with a shoestring budget and CMS access can do tonight to improve the visitor experience of the website of a cultural institution.
As always, feel free to add your recommendations.
- Make opening hours & entry prices accessible from every page
A good spot is top right, next to “contact” and “about us”, and/or in the footer. And yes: opening hours & entry prices can fit on one page.
- Communicate when you’re open; make closed the exception
Big font: We’re open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm. Smaller font: Except on public holidays. Even Google should not be able to find the string “the museum is closed…” on your website.
- First communicate when you are free, then normal price, then exceptions
I’ve struggled through endless lists of different ticket types, only to find out at the bottom an institution was free anyway in the summer months. It’s a good thing to be free, so shout it out. Makes you feel welcoming to people. Read the rest of this entry »