Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: innovation, organisation, organisational change, skunkworks, sustainable | 6 Comments »
One of the (two?) heavily-debated topics at last week’s Sharing is Caring conference in Copenhagen was on how to organise teams to spur innovation. (The other, which I might reflect on in a future post as I have done in the past, on that not every position in a 21st century museum needs a PhD as the best candidate.)
In the keynote in conversation with Shelley Bernstein of the Brooklyn Museum I expressed my belief in small teams working on a tight schedule, limited budget and in relative freedom from organisational politics on huge challenges. A lot of the really worthwhile projects in museum innovation I know of have been achieved in similar situations and it’s certainly the way I like to work. Michael Edson of the Smithsonian quickly replied:
Certainly, there are risks with such projects, but I disagree with Michael that these projects don’t scale. At night, during dinner, (watch out: namedropping!) Lene Krogh Jeppesen, innovator at the Danish Ministry of Taxation, Sarah Giersing of Copenhagen Museum, Jacob Wang of the National Museet and others continued the discussion. Are skunkworks projects scalable and if so: how do we both spur radical innovation and create sustainable businesses? 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: November 11th, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: People, Thoughts about museums | Tags: change, hiring, innovation, institutional change, organisation, staff | 8 Comments »
Photo by Desi on Flickr.
There are two ways to look at a potential new hire: you can look at what she has done already, or at what she is still going to do in her life. Simply put, you can hire for their past, or hire for your future.
Certainly, there are positions where a long and prosperous career is an advantage. President of the board, for instance. For others, a decent degree might be useful, such as brain surgeon or passenger plane pilot.
Most of the time, however, a curriculum with ten straight years of working experience in a relevant field preceded by five straight years of relevant higher education only means your potential new hire is extremely good at avoiding change and being predictable.
That is hardly the kind of skill and attitude the 21st century asks for, even in a conservative sector such as culture. Then why, I wonder (because this is a rant), do I see so many unconventionally talented and young people around me struggling to find a position in the cultural sector in the Netherlands? It is not as if we are not in a desperate need for change…
When I came back to the Netherlands after spending some years abroad in the spring of 2009, my curriculum was a hotchpotch of freelance jobs, voluntary work, extracurricular courses and one-year appointments. I’ve heard it being called a mess. My CEO at the Museum of National History thought differently, and did so with many of my colleagues. Young and ambitious people who compensated a lack of experience with a double amount of enthusiasm and ideas. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with, and we regularly pulled tricks considered impossible by all the highly trained, highly experienced people in other institutions. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 13th, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration, Thoughts about museums | Tags: change, innovation, jim collins, moore's law, organisation, strategy, structure | 4 Comments »
Photo by John Ryan on Flickr.
Ten years ago Jim Collins published a book that would change the way many organisations would do business: Good to Great. You’ve heard about it, maybe you even read it. The book gives a recipe for sustainable success, businesswise, based on a number of companies that outperformed their competitors over a long period of time. Jim Collins told millions how to be Great, as opposed to simply Good.
Quickly, a prequel for startups (Built to Last) and a special edition for the social sectors were published. For many consultants, Jim Collins was God.
The ten years since
Unfortunately, the years since 2001 brought trouble: The web 2.0 revolution, financial crises and the never-diminishing effect of Moore’s Law. The world changed, and not all of Jim Collins’s great companies managed to stay on top of things.
This week I spent some time with Anders Sorman-Nilsson, an expert on the disruptive nature of change for business. In a recent video on his blog, he explains how the years since 2001 have made some of the great companies become obsolete, or even go bust.
It very much seems that although you were brilliant the entire 20th century, it can be a matter of months in the 21st to have your organisation disappear into oblivion. What made you great in yesteryear might make you obsolete today.
And I don’t think this is limited to the moneymakers of the world. Museums, theatres and even social causes can become obsolete just as easily if they’re not designed to deal with the menacing effects of Moore’s Law and the like.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: People, Technology | Tags: advice, museumnext, online, organisation, tips, work | 4 Comments »
Photo by Ally Oop on Flickr.com
“My organisation does not see the importance of social media.” Does this line sound familiar to you? Or, “I’m the only one doing new media, the curators simply don’t care.”
I often hear this line. It was one of the leading themes of questions people posed between sessions at MuseumNext. I believe it’s the responsibility of the new media department to get the rest of the organisation to become active on social media. If ‘they’ are not online, ‘you’ should do something about it.
In this post I’ll address some simple things you can do to make your curators, marketing team, mother and small pets go online. Please add your secret recipes to the comment section.
- Make social media useful to ‘them’. Figure out, in open conversation over coffee etc., what your colleagues are looking for personally. An old friend from primary school (Facebook), the e-mail address of an old colleague (LinkedIn), a cheap car (eBay). Surprise them with an email with a link. “I googled around and found this for you.” This will introduce them to the power of new media.
- Subscribe to blogs related to expositions and projects your institution is working on, and share links you find online with the people working on the projects. Doesn’t have to be tech-related. Merely the fact the internet can provide stuff ‘they’ didn’t know about increases trustworthiness of the medium. Read the rest of this entry »