Born in the early 1980s, Richard Branson, his bold endeavours and the iconic brand Virgin have been a constant source of amazement in my life. Everything Sir Richard touches seems to turn into gold (just look at the ad above!). So, what would happen if he said goodbye to galactic and bought himself a museum?
1. He’d cut a lot of the red tape
The amount of bureaucracy in an average museum is appalling. “The world is full of red tape, created by committees with too much time and an overbearing desire for control” Richard would make sure decisions were made fast and using the qualities of the people involved. Not hastily, but with determination, tackling problems when they arise and taking responsibility. If you can build an airline from scratch in three months, everything is possible.
2. He’d embrace change, challenge and innovation
“You’ve got to stretch to grow.” Nothing is sacred, especially not because it has been done so for years. If something were broken, Mr. Branson would fix it. “To win, you have to break the rules.” Innovation, not for the sake of change, but to improve the product. How often do you see museums repeating the same old trick that – honestly – doesn’t really work that well? It doesn’t cost much more energy to try something new. You might discover something great. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s about a 50% change you’ve visited this blog before, so I think it’s safe to assume this is not the first post you read. That means you’re one of the people who helped to make this blog go from a couple of hundreds of visits a month to – recently – over 2,500. Cool! Over 7,000 unique visitors from more than 100 countries came to this blog in twenty-ten. Among you are quite some of the people whose work on innovation in the cultural sector I greatly admire. Thanks for joining.
What Mr. Collins proves is that if you get the right people together, and you make sure you work on something you really like, can be the best of the world in and earn a sustainable living while doing so, a flywheel will start turning. When you are persistent in doing that thing, the flywheel will get momentum. This momentum makes the impossible possible and will turn whatever you do from merely good, to great. Read the rest of this entry »
This is an article I wrote for the (recently launched) project Creating Trustville. This project is a place for ideation of new social structures and the conceptualisation of the institutions of the future, started by Vandejong.
What is a museum?
Over the course of history museums have had to reinvent themselves a couple of times. Once they housed the private collections of kings and other leaders. Their audience: the owner’s friends and enemies whom he wished to impress. Then museums became centres of research, romanticised in the late 20th century in movies such as Indiana Jones. In the meantime museums had discovered their public role, often housing elaborate educational and visitor programmes.
In the early 21st century, with the Internet and the 2.0 revolution, museums all over the world flirted with yet another meaning for themselves. Visitors became actors. The recently launched YouTube Play project of the Guggenheim museum in New York exemplifies this change. Online video artists have a chance to see their work displayed in one of the most renowned museums in the world. It is my strong believe that by the year 2020 this paradigm shift in thinking about museums and their role in society will have had a lasting impact on the sector.
Historically, museums are built by individuals around a private collection. Later, in the 18th and 19th century, museums became institutions. Although they were governed by a group of people, the audience still had little say in what was put on display (and how, and where).
In the last century, museums became interactive and especially in the last decades were focused more on the audience and less on the need to exhibit. Only recently, however, museums discovered you can let the audience have a say in the contents of a museum. (I love this example on Flickr.)
You can’t build the world’s most innovative museum alone. In fact, co-creation is one of our main focuses. We want to have a structure that enables our audience to participate in everything the museum does. We want to engage them, not only in our exhibitions and projects but also in our organization itself. Read the rest of this entry »