Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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Opening plenary

The opening plenary at MW2010 was presented by Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry group. It was a most inspiring presentation, focusing on how to boost creativity through moving outside the regular comfort zone to learn and get inspiration, and through putting creativity first and not let budget restraints suppress great ideas.

Plan ahead for new technologies
Brad Feld encouraged the MW2010 participants was to ”think in 20 year acts”. Take a long view when planning for technology. To many this might seem a little difficult, what do we know of new technologies even five years down the road? The point is that if we just sit and wait for a new technology to arrive innovation and creativity will slow down significantly. We all need to contribute to the development of new technologies, if only with ideas.

Don’t let budget constraints suppress creativity
Resources and budgets is another area to keep in mind when developing and mediating digital assets. Resource constraints exist. However, Brad Feld reminded us, many innovative companies have started off with no resources but a bunch of creative people, In projects its easy to feel constrained by limited resources, however low budget does not constrain creativity as long as you set up goals.

Get outside the comfort zone
Another important advice from Brad Feld was to get outside the personal comfort zone. To attend conferences like Musems and the Web is a great way to improve your knowledge, make new connections and to get inspired. Other ways of moving outside the comfort zone is to actually have an internship at another institution. be the artist in residence, or just a volunteer. Expose yourself to new stuff.

Break some glass
To move further ahead in our work at cultural heritage institutions we also need to more actively make choices. Don’t be afraid to throw away stuff that doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to break glass. If something doesn’t work, even though it’s been granted a fair budget, it will always be more expensive to maintain it. Throw away and start over.

Know your customer
Last but not least, Brad Feld reminded us: Be your own customer. As he asked the audience what do we call our visitors, several people answered guests. With a quick response he then put us back on track again: Do you actually make your guests pay? Customer or client is therefore a more apropriate term. And so we also must achieve a full understanding of what makes the customer actually buy. If we haven’t got a clue, we’ll be likely to loose them in the long run.


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Observation I

ipad at MW2010So the iPad was hot news for the MW2010. Surprisingly only a handful of participants, out of more than 600, had one.  Many companies in the Exhibition hall had one, and two were even raffled to the joy of all participants (not that I did win any of them, but anyway).

But having had a close encounter with an iPad I must say I am very eager to get hold of one myself. It is handy in size, a little heavy but the screen is just excellent for displaying books, or interfaces mediating cultural heritage. The possibilities are endless.

As only a few participants had an iPad that was also an indication that it is still quite difficult to get hold of it in the US. The 3G version is not out yet. Rumours were that the Apple stores in Denver had sold out. It will be very interesting the see how the iPad makes its way to the next year’s conference, MW2011 in Philadelphia.

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Summarizing MW2010

The international conference Museums and the Web 2010 just finished and it is time to start summarizing the experience. Three important aspects of the conference makes it the no 1 in the world on cultural heritage and internet/digital publication:

1. Organization: The conference is extremely well organized and carried out smoothly

2. Speakers and content: The most up to date and ground breaking projects are presented by professional and competent speakers and usability labs, workshops etc. complement regular sessions.

3. Community: The conference has a growing community that, thanks to social media, is allowed to grow and flourish during the year to come.

Participants come from all over the world, though since the conference takes place in North America it is slightly anglified. It lasts five days, including conference tours and workshops. So starting with the opening plenary in my next post, I will try to cover the parts of the conference that I enjoyed the most.