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.