Posted: February 6th, 2014 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Strategy | Tags: challenges, digital engagement framework, museum, projects, waterline | No Comments »
Photo by Dirk-Jan Kraan.
The Netherlands are defined by their relation with water. We’re known for our extensive water defences, living below sea level and ‘polders’. As the saying goes, God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands. Less well known is that water is not only our enemy, but has been our ally as well. For hundreds of years we’ve defended the country with an extensive network of flooded plains, sluices, earth walls, brick, concrete and steel called the water lines.
Just outside of Utrecht one of the fortresses of the New Dutch Waterline is now being transformed into a Waterline Museum. On Fort bij Vechten a story will be told of an enormous (80km long by 4km wide) infrastructural project, the people that build and defended it, the enemies it stopped and also how it’s never actually been used in war.
Last year I helped the museum develop a digital strategy using the Digital Engagement Framework. The strategy focused on building awareness in the area of the water line, activating audiences to become engaged through games and tours with the stories of the museum and – eventually – generating visitors to the site. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 14th, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: book, digital engagement framework, presentations, projects, quick note | 2 Comments »
1. Not so quietly, earlier this week Jim Richardson and I published our latest book Digital engagement in culture, heritage and the arts. The 60+ page publication summarises a lot of our work with cultural, heritage and arts institutions on digital strategies, co-creation processes and innovation. We’ve had help from many people in the sector putting it together, sharing case studies from world renowned institutions and hidden gems. Get your free download at www.digitalengagementframework.com and let me know what you think.
2. After two years of mostly change management and strategy consulting, these weeks I’m going hands-on with two super exciting projects, one of which is a brand new museum about one of the Netherlands’ most impressive structures, the other more of a secret (I’ve signed so many NDAs lately that I’ve almost forgotten how to talk about projects). We’re in the design and strategy phases at the moment, but if all goes well this should provide a lot of new insights in the next year. Expect posts!
3. Finally, there’s a bunch of new talks and workshops/masterclasses I’ll be giving or attending (see overview on the right), including some (free) webinars around the Digital Engagement Framework. Come meet me! I’m not (yet) tired and would love to hear what you’re working on.
Posted: May 2nd, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Thoughts about museums | Tags: communities, conference, development, projects, sarajevo, work | No Comments »
At the Learning Museum Conference in Riga in April 2012 I was introduced to the work of Cultural Heritage Without Borders and especially of Diana Walters in using culture and heritage as a binding and empowering force in post-conflict areas. CHWB’s motto ‘we restore and build communities’ appeals to my background in international development work as well as to my work building relationships between people, and people and culture. You can imagine how thrilled I was when earlier this year I received an invitation from Diana to participate in a conference of CHWB and the Balkan Museum Network in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The conference was last week and it was a convincing display of the strengths and opportunities of culture and heritage under even the harshest conditions. From all over the (western) Balkans culture and heritage professionals had come together to see, meet, do (the title of the conference) and learn from each other’s projects and ideas. I was part of an international team of consultants who facilitated hands-on sessions and worked with the participants to design better projects and exchange knowledge and experiences.
It was enlightening to see how small institutions in countries like Albania, Kosovo and Serbia worked on incredibly powerful projects with shoestring budgets. The ambition and creativity of most participants easily matched that of the world’s largest institutions, while their ingenuity and willingness to cooperate I only remember from working with really professional NGOs. So much can be done with so little.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 27th, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Thoughts about museums | Tags: collections, curating, de gulle ekster, ideas, information, innovation, projects | 3 Comments »
Photo by Suresh Eswaran on Flickr.
One of the primary trends for museums I’ve been researching and discussing lately is their potential renewed role as curators of information in the digital age. The amount of online information approximately doubles every two years and when the 4+ billion people without internet access will start contributing, it will become ever harder to find the stuff that is worth your while online.
Google and Facebook are designed to tell you mostly what you or your friends already know, not to help you discover new things you didn’t even know existed. Museums often play this role in the real world and could do so in the digital world as well.
This means rather than digitise millions of objects for the rare geek googling his obscure interest, museums should use their unique knowledge about the collection to curate highly engaging stories that appeal to larger numbers of people. (Compare the excitement of the Wikipedia article about the Big Bang with a 60-second video.) Their curatorial function unbiased by commercial interests (such as Amazon, Booking.com and most blogs/online magazines) could fill an important void in the current web landscape.
I like how the Rijksstudio of the Rijksmuseum enables such behaviour (Holland’s best moustaches!) although it’s still too passive, too noncommittal. It’s still a collection, not a story. Another good example is the Facebook page of the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 21st, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration, Technology | Tags: behaviour, DEF, digital, mindset, projects, question | 6 Comments »
Photo by J Brew on Flickr.
1. Yesterday I hosted the return day of a DEF workshop at the Danish Museum Association in Copenhagen. After enjoying an insightful presentation about the digital strategy of SMK and a thoughtful presentation about digital at the National Museum, we discussed some of the most pressing issues that hindered the digital potential of Danish museums. Number one among these issues: the digital mindset (or lack thereof) with colleagues in the museums.
We carefully broke the idea of a ‘digital mindset’ down to its core behaviours: what does a person do when he or she has a digital mindset? The answers varied widely between people and institutions: A colleague with a digital mindset shares ideas, uses the right tools for the right challenges, is present on social networks, asks and answers questions, etc. etc. For most participants, a digital mindset had little to do with digital tools and much more with a 21st century way of working: open, collaborative, lean, proactive…
Breaking down a complex idea like ‘digital mindset’ into simple behaviour you can observe helps to find opportunities towards this idea that address understandable things, rather than abstract concepts. One of the things we figured out in Copenhagen was that talking about a ‘digital mindset’ might be the wrong way to get your colleagues to develop the desired mindset. ‘Digital’ causes resistance, while the ideas behind it may be easier accepted.
2. Which brings me to an important question I need your help with (which is why I emphasised it so outrageously): Read the rest of this entry »