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.

[media height="600" link=""]

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

Can real time web bring real world change?


We continually spent more time online - now an average of 13 hours per week. Facebook connectivity increases within new demographics, and the voice of oppressed groups is strengthened online. The platform for social and real-time web is the communities that place the individual in the centre, with tools that helps us construct the story of our ideal self-image.

The range of social services we use including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. covers different needs, but the similarity is that they fulfil our need for curiosity, recognition and profiling. The success of the individual is measured quantitative in terms of the number of friends, followers or connections we gain. By focusing on the ego in a social context, makes our behaviour and perception rather predictable. By keeping us self-centered, has web 2 and social media thereby limited us rather than liberated us as individuals?

Participatory motivation Linking community behaviour with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, shows a coverage of our need for social belonging and recognition. Maslow's hierarchy of needs can also reflect the evolvement of the Internet, from focus on basic infrastructure and security to the services we use today that support our need for social belonging and esteem. This thesis indicates, that the future of web will move towards supporting our need for self-actualization. According to Maslow our need for self-actualization will rise when the previous needs are met, and therefore not attract us all. So we will probably continue to use services that stimulates us socially, fortifies our ego and most of all - just entertains.


The end of web 2 But as with other trends, we might experience a backlash, where the measurement goes from quantitative in relation to the number of friends, towards qualitative in terms of individual impact and influence in a group with value, meaning and actual change as key indicators. First movers on the web will probably soon sort out friends, contacts and followers, that gave them status during the social web era, and instead move towards the era of "value web" where a friend is chosen on the basis of value. To be a part of these value groups, you will either provide impact, or be exclusively chosen, bringing status to the given social hierarchy.

What do we really achieve from our numerous online hours - do we in fact strengthen our relationships on Facebook, or is it rather entertainment and curiosity that leads us to spend time observing “what is on the mind” of the 10% of users that actually participate.

When Twitter emphasises the situation in Iran after the June 2009 election, whereafter to be surpassed by Michael Jackson's death, how great impact has our participation actually had? As Queen Rania expressed at LeWeb:

"Can the real time web bring real world change?"


There are not many services available today that support self-actualization, altruism, and other elements that moves focus from the ego towards value in and to a group. And will motivational factors supported by the successful communities of today, still be necessary on the value orientated communities of tomorrow? Does the multitude truly want to act for a good purpose, if they are not rewarded with recognition and profiling? One thing is to show that you support a good cause on Facebook - which also supports our perfect online image, another thing is to actually spent the necessary time to act and change.

Social web - limits rather than liberates Maslow´s hierarchy of needs is distinguished by its visual simplicity, but there are other interesting thoughts on what motivates us to act. Spinoza´s philosophy is that everything is determined by cause and effect, so even if we believe as individuals that we act based on our free will, we are in fact externally influenced including socially.

Maslow also considers a self-actualized person as free in relation to social influence, which enables us to make decisions based on our beliefs and values, rather than social norms and rules. Taoism and Zen Buddhism has a similar view - man is truly liberated when freed from worldly possessions, social pressure and power, thereby decisions are no longer made on the basis of external authority. Spinoza´s definition is a virtuous free person who pursues goals that benefits all, sharing knowledge and makes other virtuous, free and good, the focus is not on the ego but on the surrounding world.

As long as the web of today supports egocentrism and restrains us in a social context, do we then loose the opportunity of self-actualization, self-development and ethics, thus other underlying values?

From social to value web If only some of our countless online hours were spent on altruism, we might ultimately get more sustainable gratification than Facebook and similar services are able to give us today.

My personal hope is that services and users in the future stimulates value, meaning and altruism in a social and global context. Research indicates that altruism affects the same area of the brain as sex. If altruism is so closely related to this driving force, why aren´t more people doing it? Are we able to influence altruism by how we design our web services, in order to motivate people to do something for others with ultimate satisfaction as reward?

But is it not okay to spend our time on social trivialities and entertainment, without necessarily being self-developed or changing the world, but where the objective is just to relax. The answer must depend on the individuals needs, but hopefully the future communities will make it easier for individuals to make a difference.

What´s in it for me? The views above are based on the believe that people desire more meaning and value, but in a busy daily life it can be difficult to see how we can actually contribute. If we look at community behaviour, we are more inclined to contribute if we are rewarded, whether we gain recognition or profiling. The interesting aspect is how to motivate individuals, in a direction that gives a more prolonged and/or enhanced satisfaction. So, from quantitatively measurement by the number of friends, the future services will rather measure the impact of the individual, whether it is in a group, in society, or globally. If this proves to be the trend for the future, we may get closer to - real time web bringing real world change.

Danish version

Kan real time web medføre reel forandring?


Vi bruger fortsat mere tid online - nu i gennemsnit 13 timer per uge. Facebooks tilslutning stiger og det er en ny demografi der udgør den største vækst. Undertrykte befolkningsgrupper har fået et globalt talerør. Platformen for social- og realtime web er de sociale tjenester hvor individet er i centrum med værktøjer der hjælper os med at konstruere historien om vores ideelle selvopfattelse.

Rækken af sociale tjenester vi benytter herunder Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn m.fl. dækker alle forskellige behov, men fælles for dem er at de bygger på nysgerrighed samt profilering og anerkendelse af individet - og målingen af individets succes er kvantitativ i form af antal venner, followers eller connections. Ved at fokusere på egoet, har bevægelsen fra web 2 og sociale medier derved medført at vi er fastholdt i en social kontekst frem for frigjort som individer?

Motivation til deltagelse Kobler man adfærden på communities med Maslows behovspyramide, dækker de vores behov for sociale tilhørsforhold og påskønnelse. Malslows hierarki kan desuden afspejle internettets udvikling, fra en start med fokus på basal infrastruktur, sikkerhed til de tjenester vi anvender i dag som er sociale og understøtter vores behov for agtelse. Ud fra den tese kan det tyde på at næste skridt bliver at morgendagens web understøtter vores behov for selvrealisering. Da det i følge Maslow kræver at de øvrige behov er dækket er det derfor ikke alle der når til selvrealisering. Så vi vil nok fortsat se tjenester der stimulerer det sociale og styrker egoet og måske mest af alt bare underholder.


Enden på web 2 Men som med alle andre tendenser kommer vi nok også til at se modtendenser, hvor der ikke måles kvantitativt i forhold til antal venner, men snarere kvalitativt i form af individets effekt og indvirkning i en gruppe med værdi, mening og reel forandring i centrum. Frontløberne på nettet vil nok inden længe sortere i vennerne, kontakterne, følgerne og alle dem der gav status i den sociale web æra, og søge henimod en æra med “value web” hvor deres indflydelse i en gruppe, samfundet eller globalt synliggøres. Er man med i morgendagens gruppe er det enten fordi man bidrager med reel værdi eller kan byde på status, som når man i det fysiske liv “passer ind” i et givent hieraki.

Når det kommer til stykket hvad er det så vi får ud af vores mange timer på nettet - får vi reelt styrket vores relationer på Facebook, eller er det snarere underholdning og nysgerrighed der får os til at bruge tid på det de 10% af brugerne - har på hjerte?

Når Twitter synliggør situationen i Iran efter valget d. 12. juni 2009, for derefter at blive overgået af Michael Jacksons død, hvor meget ændrer det så reelt på situationen i Iran? Som Dronning Rania udtrykte det på LeWeb:

“Can the real time web bring real world change?”


Der er ikke mange tjenester i dag der understøtter selvrealisering, altruisme og andre elementer som flytter fokus fra individet, til værdi i og for en gruppe. Spørgsmålet er desuden om de motivationsfaktorer som de succesfulde communities understøtter, fortsat vil være nødvendige på fremtidens værdi orienterede communities, for ønsker multituden reelt at handle for et godt formål, hvis ikke anerkendelse og profilering følger med? Èt er at  vise sin støtte til et godt formål på eksempelvis Facebook - hvilket er med til at understøtte vores perfekte online image, noget andet er reelt at handle og forandre. Det sociale web - fastholder fremfor frigør individet Maslows behovspyramide udmærker sig ved sin visuelle enkelthed, men dykker man ned i nuancerne omkring det der motiverer os og får os til at handle, er der andre interessante bud. Filosoffen Spinoza opererer med tesen at verden er styret af årsag og effekt, så selv om vi som individer tror at vi handler ud fra egen fri vilje, er vi i virkeligheden styret af udefra kommende påvirkninger, herunder de sociale.

Maslow anser også det selvrealiserende menneske som fri i forhold til sociale påvirkninger, hvilket gør én i stand til at træffe beslutninger baseret på egen overbevisning og værdier, frem for de gængse sociale normer og regler. Det samme beskriver de endelige stadier indenfor Taoisme og Zen Buddhisme, når mennesket frigør sig fra verdslige egendele og social magt og pres, opnås personlig selvstændighed hvor beslutninger ikke længere træffes på baggrund af eksterne autoriteter. Maslows selvrealiserede individ definerer Spinoza som det virtuose individ, som er styret af meningen ved at være god ved andre, at dele viden og at gøre andre virtuose, frie og gode, så fokus er flyttet fra egoet til omverdenen.

Så længe dagens web understøtter egocentrisme og fastholdelse i en social kontekst, mister vi så muligheden for selvrealisering, selvudvikling og etik samt øvrige elementer der giver vedvarende værdi?

Fra social til værdibaseret web Hvis blot nogen af vores mange millioner timer på nettet blev brugt på altruistisme som hjælper eller gavner andre, kan man derved drage konklusionen at der i sidste ende kommer mere retur, end det Facebook og lignende giver os i dag?

Mit personlige håb er at fremtidens tjenester og brugere stimulerer værdi, mening og altruisme i en samfundsmæssig og global sammenhæng. Forskning peger på at netop altruisme påvirker det samme område i hjernen som sex. Hvis altruisme er så nært relateret til så stærke drivkræfter, hvorfor er der så få der gør det. Og kan det igen påvirkes af den måde vi designer vores web tjenester på, for derved at motivere folk til at gøre noget for andre og blive belønnet med ultimativ tilfredsstillelse?

Kan fremtidens web løfte os væk fra nærsyn til overblik og derved mere objektivitet, selv om dette strider imod vores naturlige begrænsende perception. Spinoza giver et eksempel: Selv om solen er millioner af mil væk, opfatter vi solen som værende 200 meter væk. På samme måde opfatter vi verden, andre mennesker og kulturer - ud fra vores egen snævre perception, og jo mere snævert jo mindre objektivt.

Med COP15 in mente, hvordan kan de lande der fokuserer på egne nationale interesser, og derved modarbejder en global indsats mod klimaforandringerne, tro at de styrker deres egen økonomi på lang sigt ved at svække omverdenens i.e. u-landende. Er det menneskets og egoets største begrænsning, evnen til at overskue, se sammenhænge og derved samfundsmæssige og globale konsekvenser?

Fra retorik til perception Vores perception styres i høj grad af den retorik der anvendes i medierne eller i det politiske billede. Kaldes en lovpakke for en lømmelpakke så har det nok ikke noget med dig og mig at gøre, selv om det i sidste ende betød at vi som almindelige borgere blev præventivt arresteret under COP15. Så ved at udnytte sprogets nuancer til at påvirke vores følelser kan vi derved manipuleres til at støtte noget der i sidste ende begrænser vores frihed - fordi vi ikke kan overskue helheden.

Den måde vi agerer på offline og online, hvad end det er Facebook eller de nyheder vi læser i avisen, så tager vi udgangspunkt i os selv, vores sociale relationer eller politiske standpunkter. Hvis udgangspunktet for vores opfattelse ikke ændrer sig, hvad er chancen så for at vi gør, med øget objektivitet som følge.

Men er det ikke okay at vi blot bruger vores tid på sociale trivialiteter og underholdning der ikke nødvendigvis flytter os som mennesker eller ændrer verden, men hvor målet er at vi kobler af. Svaret må afhænge af individets behov, men med fremtidens tjenester kan det gøres lettere for individet at handle og forandre, hvad end motivet er anderkendelse, selvrealisering eller altruisme.

Whats in it for me? Ovenstående synspunkter tager udgangspunkt i at vi som mennesker ønsker mere mening og mere værdi, men at det i en travl hverdag kan være svært at se hvordan vi kan bidrage. Ser vi på community adfærd er vi mest tilbøjelige til at bidrage hvis vi får noget igen, hvad end det er anerkendelse eller profilering. Så det interessante aspekt er at motivere individet - hvilket kan tyde på er nødvendigt, i en retning der giver en mere længerevarende og/eller forstærket tilfredsstillelse. Så fra at måle kvantitativt på antal venner skal fremtidens tjenester i stedet måle på individets indvirkning, hvad end det er i en gruppe, i samfundet eller globalt. Viser det sig at blive tendensen for fremtiden, kommer vi måske tættere på at - real time web medfører reel forandring.

English version