Museum Of The Future

I was invited to talk about the future of museums by the Danish Customs and Tax Museum on the occasion of their 100 year anniversary, and because they had decided to replace their physical museum with a digital experience, and to take the old museum and objects on tour in Denmark. This might seem like a very bold move, because can there be a museum without a physical space? I believe so, and as a matter of fact, making the museum digital and collaborative opens up a wide set of new opportunities to expand, scale and engage the audience in creating and sharing the entire experience. But before going in front of the camera, I researched the state of the museums around the world, to see how they approached the digital sphere, and to spot any signs of a trend or the future within this space. I did not find anything radical innovative, in terms of giving audiences a new museum experience using different media elements. There were incremental add-ons to the physical exhibitions, like MOMA's Century Of The Child or their Google Art Project, digital - yes, social and engaging - not really.

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My take on The Future Of Museums (in Danish).

The Future Museum Experience How would the museum experience look like in the future, if we added these three digital elements:

1. Social 2. Global 3. Location based

If we start with social, involving the audience to participate in the creation of their exhibitions, to collect favourite pieces, an era or a specific artist, that would create a "Spotify" for museums. Because if all art is searchable and usable, the audience could make "view lists", present and share their own exhibitions, allowing people to subscribe, and be updated if new content is added. In the same way as with music and fashion, the first movers could share their knowledge, not only to the art or museum elite, but to everybody. If people in general knows more about art and history, because they constantly expand their knowledge in a collaborative manner, there would be created more curiosity and an increased demand for the physical objects, in the same manner as music fans going to concerts, or when fashionistas purchase the must have of the week, online. Art is as scalable as any other passion - when shared by people!

The second opportunity is to make exhibitions global, thereby scaling the experience and again increasing the demand for the physical objects and the museum hosting it. In the same way as music, books and fashion is globally shared and purchased online - so should art, history and exhibitions be. Do I really need to go to New York to see MOMA or to Denmark to see Louisiana? The experience will off course not be the same, it will be different, because you can add more layers to an object if it's digital. So if I want to se a sculpture, I can view from more angles than at the museum, I can see it from the ceiling, I can zoom in and most interesting the artist or curator can add online information. If I viewed a piece from the Pyramids, I could see a picture or video of the exact location, where it was found, watch how people looked and lived at that time. I could also see the archaeological process from locating the findings, excavation to preserving the item. If it's just a small piece I can see the entire picture of how it used to look like, and I can browse to other object that are related, while hearing the history in my earphones.

Some of the interesting initiatives you can experience today are at Guggenheim, which are quite far with providing a digital experience. They enable people around the world to view some of their exhibitions and other information, and they are even doing some minor social moves, with their blog and live chat. With Soundwalk you can randomly walk the streets of Manhattan and get information about the building you are standing in front of. Intel has made an interesting but narcissistic exhibition with The Museum Of Me, where people can experience themselves, their Facebook content and "friends" in a virtual museum, an example that could be used in more scenarios.

Looking at the museum experience from a location based angle, we should reverse the picture. Why not turn cities and locations into a live interactive museum, by adding information, history and objects to the original location. So if I'm Vienna, I will put on my earphones and saunter through the city, when I pass a spot I find interesting I can add a visual experience, by holding my smartphone up in front of a building or square, and see which artifact's that are connected to this spot, using augmented reality. I can also hear the shared whisper of people that passed by before me, by looking at my smartphone display I can get a social media stream showing what people wrote about this experience, artifact or piece of history, as well as I can add my perspective and pictures, to make the experience even more real-time and social.

These are just some of the opportunities, museums can use to amplify and share their exhibition in a digital world. If I cannot go to a museum or back in time - art and history should come to me. I look forward to a future where an exhibition is independent of geography and means, because art and history should be accessible to everybody, everywhere.


photo credit: Flickr/anacarina

To be or not to (b)equity

Rumor has it we have a crisis. Annoying for those who needs to sell their house (yours truly) just now. But I am sure that the folks that have been listening to us bragging about our risen equity for the last 5 years, probably are thinking, ha - now your not so cocky. I met with a (renting) friend who said, "I haven't been to a gathering for the last 5 years without listening to equity", so maybe it´s finally possible to talk about something interesting again.
And is it so bad, did it make us/me happy, better dressed maybe. The eager to earn money had a price - on what really matters. And the good thing about down-times are that you have to prioritize whats really important. And the up site to that is that it´s mainstream acceptable to be provident again. All the non-important stuff can be put away, and make some space for good (free) social time with family and friends.
So walking to work in my already old-fashioned boots, it´s somehow the same game that´s going on in the companies. Most companies are dismissing a lot of employees, using the down-times as an excuse. But is it not just a really good chance to prioritize expenses - while it´s mainstream acceptable? You can not open a newspaper without reading about mass firing - I bet it would have demanded a lot more explanation just 6 months ago. 
And I actually praise this development, because it´s when you focus on what's important, potential of opportunity rises - i.e innovation - and who can be an opponent to that?

Innovation, udspringer det fra toppen/strategi eller nedefra/processer

Onsdag eftermiddag d. 21/11-07, jeg løber ned af Købmagergade til SAS institute. "Der står Transformation og innovation gennem IT" på programmet. Det er egentlig en netværksgruppe for CIO´s, men jeg er kommet med på et afbud fra min chef. Der er 3 indlæg, Rambøll Mangement fremlægger markedsundersøgelser om IT og koblingen til innovation og forretningsprocesser, med afsæt i deres (rigtig gode) IT i Praksis 2007. Dernæst er det IT-direktøren fra Alm. Brand og dernæst CIO fra Vestas. Nå nok om rammerne nu til indholdet. Alle 3 indlæg var ganske fine. Men de indlæg som Alm. Brand og Vestas præsenterede, handlede om at få basis i orden, få dokumenteret sine processer og mange rigtig gode tanker, men det som i min optik handler om drift og en naturlig udvikling og modenhed af ens IT miljø. Der var intet konkret om hvordan man har brugt innovation og om man havde. Innovation var snarere beskrevet i metaforer og betegnet som værende diffust. Jeg måtte spørge, hvorvidt innovation udsprang fra toppen/strategien eller nedefra via processer og optimering (Lean for nogen). Dette kunne de ikke svare på, fordi de erkendte at de ikke var på det modenhedsniveu hvor innovation kan udøves. Selverkendelse er godt, men jeg ville ønske at medicinal eller mobil telefoni branchen var repræsenteret, for jeg forestiller mig at de død pine er nødsaget til at benytte innovation struktureret for at kunne være i konkurrence og eksistere. Et andet spørgsmål jeg stillede tog udgangspunkt i Rambølls præsentation af Doblins 10 types of innovation, hvor de påpegede at der er mange andre indsatsområder end produkt innovation som de fleste relaterer til innovation. Potentialet indenfor eks. proces, forretningsmodel, branding innovation m.fl. er langt større. Tilfældigvis kender jeg modellen og deres undersøgelser påpeger at 2 % af innovationsindsatsen resultere i 90% af det samlede udbytte, og mit spørgsmål lød hvorvidt Rambøll vidste om de 2% tog afsæt i strategien eller kom det nedefra via processerne. Den skarpe læser vil opdage at det egentlig er samme spørgsmål. Rambøll vidste det ikke men de ville se på det. Jeg forlod selskabet lettere opløftet, desværre ikke fordi jeg var blevet klogere på Transformation og innovation gennem IT, men fordi vi sluttede af med et meget konkret og underholdende vin smagningsarrangement leveret af Bo Jacobsen fra "Restaurationen". Hvad er konklusionen så, er Innovation diffust, kan det bedst beskrives med metaforer og er det vigtigt at det nævnes overalt som et buzzword, for så er man med i eller anden grad. Min holdning er at innovation er et paradigme, som dækker over konkrete værktøjer, det er målbart og det er den bedste metode til at opnå strategiske mål eller løse udfordringer på kortere tid - alt i alt en gevaldig vigtig parameter for at være i konkurrence og vinde kapløbet. Det varer ikke længe før det kan måles hvilke virksomheder der løser manglen på arbejdskraft, dem der tilfældigt får en god ide, eller dem der struktureret fokusere på at løse problemet vha. innovative værktøjer og metoder. Jeg ved godt hvor jeg placere mine penge :-)

If I was Google

For some time I have been speculating on what the next step in desktop computing will be. Most of all because I am confused by Microsoft signals compared with Googles increasing market position and ability to innovate. Microsoft doesn’t really show a Internet strategy, they adapt online services but they stay “local”. So my guess is, besides that Microsoft will appear with a new more online strategy also on their platforms, that Google within a year will be a new provider of desktop and software computing. But how will they do it?

The development in Grid computing is now very close to a launch. Using this technology will enable a very cheap hardware platform, and the software is of course provided online. Google already introduced Google Pack. More info So the next step should be obvious.

When you buy your Grid computer you will be able to get online immediately, and download your simple OS (GooglOS?). Then you are free to choose your Software provider. You will turn to Google who will provide a wide range of common used software. The Software will be a direct competitor to Microsoft, its free, install on-line, no maintenance, you no longer have to worry about updates, antivirus, backup (they store and backup your data), on-line e-learning, overall access to your documents, and I could continue. This will create a revolution on the PC market, comparing the cost and development with the mobile phone industry. Whether Google will develop their own products or determine the use of standards, to appeal to a “best of breed” mindset, is harder to predict. But why shouldn’t they have their own brand. Is a merger with Sun Microsystems and their Open Office a possibility or they will just buy up a smaller company?

The suggestions about Grid computing are that your electric power supplier should deliver bandwidth and Grid services, but my guess is that Google will take advantage of this technology.

Any way, I am looking forward to se if my guesses will come too real.

If they do I promise to be a customer!

How can Innovation affect a companys profit

Innovation has been a buzzword for some time, but is it fully integrated in organizations strategies and goals for profit? In Denmark, witch is my point of view, it is only a handful of companies that has taken this challenge seriously, and the main reason is that their business is to deliver innovative products. But what if an ordinary service or production company, adapted some of the same methods, would this affect their profit and market position. My hypothesis is that this is an area in witch companies would discover a great development potential, so my personal opinion is yes. How can your organization get started? Well first of all you probably want to show some documentation of your companies present level of innovation. By having this baseline you can registrate new concepts and measure the development and profits. There is of course a long way from deciding to work seriously with innovation until this new work process is implemented and the results appear. The real work is to evaluate your organization and determine witch methods you should develop and follow. This part is very challenging and interesting, because you don't want to implement a method that turns out not to live up to your goals for benefit or profit. In other words, put a lot of effort into this part of the process, and most important, talk to the people who you plan should work with the new methods, those who has to deliver the goals, or maybe the most significant group, the customers.

How to set up a process:

This method is an overall example witch can lead to inspiration. But there is yet a lot of work to do for every proces.

Before you get started, analyze your companies primary products or services. Then look at the possible areas of innovation, but don’t conclude anything before your interviews with the business areas is accomplished.

Doblins 10 types of innovation.

Doblin describes 10 types of innovation. Take a closer look at these 10 areas, and keep them into consideration until it is revealed where your company can gain innovative benefits.

  1. Business Model
  2. Networks and alliances
  3. Enabling process
  4. Core processes
  5. Product performance
  6. Product system
  7. Service
  8. Channel
  9. Brand
  10. Customer experience

Here is an example of how you can plan your process:

  1. Point out your companies primary products, services and customers
  2. Compare with the strategies and goals for the organisation
  3. Analyze department profits compared to the goals
  4. Point out key areas, departments or customer segments
  5. Select a appropriate amount of people who can anticipate with an interview
  6. Make an interview guide, and prepare the chosen persons and have them consider where they can point out optimization areas. The interview guide for the organization could look like this:
  1. Name and position.
  2. Working area
  3. Years of employment. Recognize new employee’s great potential to point out optimization areas.
  4. Note the innovation areas that the interview person chooses for them selves or other people/departments. It is often easier to se other peoples problems or potential clearly.
  5. Write a conclusion

A customer interview guide:

    1. Name and position
    2. Customer use
    3. Years of application
    4. Note the innovation areas that the interview person chooses for them selves or other people/departments. It is often easier to se other peoples problems or potential clearly.
    5. Write a conclusion

    Interview the organisation

    1. Make a catalogue/report witch gathers all the answers.
    2. Now you take a look on the 10 areas and evaluate from all your answers witch area(s) you should focus on.
    3. Compare strategi and goals with your new knowledge and se if there is a relationship. If the outcome and the companies benefit doesn´t reflect your strategi and goals, maybe they should be evaluated. The result of describing and measuring goals for the chosen departments can alone have a positive impact because everyone knows what the primary focus is.
    4. Presentate the report to the decision makers, including an action plan for implementation.
    5. The decision or output from this presentation is defined in individual goals for key persons, departments or areas. Measure the results for example once a month. Establish a innovation task force that can support the goal owners with creative processes.
    6. Measure yearly output (i.e. witch new initiatives are presented to the market or organization) and optimize.
    7. Start over.

    More information on creative processes

    Notice Doblins figure. The main perception of innovation is that innovation is a new invention or a drastic change and performance of a product. The consequence of this assumption is that companies put a lot of effort into the product performance area. Analysis show that 2 % of projects, produce more than 90 % of value, and the lowest output of results is produced within product performance.

    One area that Doblin doesn’t recognize is society and organizational innovation. This is probably the easiest innovation to predict, due to history. The types and areas of development in society maybe new, but for centuries and more we have developed our social skills, way of living, how to survive and earn a living. Today the west is going from industrial production to a service oriented and knowledge based production. The service oriented production trend has been present for a while, but our organizations change, leadership evolves and peoples priorities change from money earned to value of living. The new generation witch are students at this point, will not only focus on what they can earn, but far more on how can a company contribute to my life and skills, and how flexible is the organizational framework. The framework refers to what is measured, your physical appearance or your results. Does a leader give attention to the way, or where, you decide to do your work or is it your results that counts. There isn’t a lot of organizations that dare to give free reins yet, but the wave is rolling, and the competition to attract the best employees will force this development. Until then and concurrent, analysis show there will be a larger attraction towards self-employment.