2012 Nelson-Atkins Tech Summit

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2012 Nelson-Atkins Tech Summit

  1. 2. Douglas Hegley Director of Technology Minneapolis Institute of Arts [email_address] @dhegley Technology Roundtable and Symposium The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art January 12-13, 2012
  2. 3. Why I work in a museum “… [a] gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life … ” – Rachel Carson
  3. 4. Well, how did I get here? <ul><li>… it’s safe to say it wasn’t exactly planned … </li></ul>
  4. 5.
  5. 6. The Ideal Characteristics of a Museum Technology Leader?
  6. 7. Conclusion: There is no perfect set of skills or experiences (Sorry)
  7. 8. <ul><li>There ARE some basic building blocks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Techie mindset, but people orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proven leadership and decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to current knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passion that is contagious </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Minneapolis Institute of Arts <ul><li>1883: Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts </li></ul><ul><li>1915: Museum opens its doors </li></ul><ul><li>Currently: </li></ul><ul><li>~ 450 to 500k visitors per year </li></ul><ul><li>Free admission (except Special Exhibitions) </li></ul>
  9. 10. MIA Collection <ul><li>84,000 objects </li></ul><ul><li>Spanning 5000 years </li></ul>
  10. 11.
  11. 19. Technology at MIA <ul><li>1990s </li></ul><ul><li>2000s </li></ul><ul><li>2010s </li></ul>
  12. 20. Technology at MIA <ul><li>1990s: The Era of New Toys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of “Interactive Media Group” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive Learning Stations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just make it work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2000s </li></ul><ul><li>2010s </li></ul>
  13. 21. Technology at MIA <ul><li>1990s: The Era of New Toys </li></ul><ul><li>2000s: Sharing What We Know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.artsmia.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.artsconnected.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stamp of authority </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2010s </li></ul>
  14. 22. Technology at MIA <ul><li>1990s: The Era of New Toys </li></ul><ul><li>2000s: The Era of Sharing What We Know </li></ul><ul><li>2010s: New Strategic Direction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging and interacting (dialog) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience-generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content separated from technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unified customer experience </li></ul></ul>
  15. 23. Roles for Technology in modern museum experience <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>digital content, that is … </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Production, archiving, access, presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple formats and media </li></ul><ul><li>Change: living, ever-changing, multiple “authors” </li></ul><ul><li>Levels: rich, deep, narrative/contextual </li></ul><ul><li>“ Born-digital” works of art = ? </li></ul>
  16. 24. Roles for Technology in modern museum experience Unified Customer Experience Filtering & Recommending Convenience Integration Automation Dialog & Participation Revenue Data Communication Collaboration Content The Great Enabler
  17. 25. Roles for Technology in modern museum experience <ul><li>Strategic! </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Central (not peripheral) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essential (not preferable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vital to the sustainability of the organization </li></ul></ul>
  18. 26. Biggest tactical challenges <ul><li>Costs, and annual variability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectation of sustained budget savings through technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staffing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numbers: minimum? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evolving skill sets - the pace of change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff drain: Top-dollar wages lie elsewhere </li></ul></ul>
  19. 27. Strategic Challenges <ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Getting the right message to the right ears </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone rowing in the same direction </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>vs. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 28. Significant technology-related trends of the past decade for museums <ul><li>Databases </li></ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Moore’s Law (processing doubles every 2 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Law of rising expectations (new norms) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Cloud (scalability, on-demand) </li></ul><ul><li>Demise of the desktop computer </li></ul><ul><li>Audience sophistication & expectations </li></ul>
  21. 29. Challenges to success in technology leadership role <ul><li>Defining the role </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it understood by the entire organization? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leadership v. Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inspiration v. Details </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivation v. Marching orders </li></ul></ul>
  22. 30. Key Strategic Technology Initiatives at MIA <ul><li>One Year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating, planning, setting the stage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Three Years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration of customer experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Seamless, smart, easy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produce inspiring digital content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative production </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Iteration, with feedback loops </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Experimentation, fail early and often, learn </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refresh core infrastructure, reduce footprint </li></ul></ul>
  23. 31. Strategic Planning Process <ul><li>Formal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultants, Executive Leaders, Board of Directors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iterations, Document, Approval </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scorecards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul>
  24. 32. Strategic Planning Process <ul><li>Formal </li></ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observe, listen, probe, investigate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarify expectations, repeat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate, in all directions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illuminate sub-par practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire smart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document and share </li></ul></ul>
  25. 33. What’s Worrisome?
  26. 34. Troublesome …
  27. 35. Troublesome … <ul><li>Technology will be the salvation! </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is a technology job </li></ul>
  28. 36. Troublesome … <ul><li>Technology will be the salvation! </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is a technology job </li></ul><ul><li>Is that your responsibility? </li></ul>
  29. 37. Troublesome … <ul><li>Technology will be the salvation! </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is a technology job </li></ul><ul><li>Is that your responsibility? </li></ul><ul><li>You know, I’m a major stakeholder in this </li></ul>
  30. 38. Troublesome … <ul><li>Technology will be the salvation! </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is a technology job </li></ul><ul><li>Is that your responsibility? </li></ul><ul><li>You know, I’m a major stakeholder in this </li></ul><ul><li>Practical constraints </li></ul>
  31. 39.
  32. 40. Museums & Technology: the near horizon <ul><li>NMC Horizon Report: 2011 Museum Edition </li></ul><ul><li>One year or less: </li></ul><ul><li>- mobile apps </li></ul><ul><li>- tablet computing </li></ul><ul><li>Two to three years: </li></ul><ul><li>- augmented reality </li></ul><ul><li>- electronic publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Four to five years: </li></ul><ul><li>- digital preservation </li></ul><ul><li>- smart objects </li></ul>
  33. 41. The near horizon IMHO <ul><li>Trends that I am keeping a close eye on include: </li></ul><ul><li>Customer expectations continuing to rise </li></ul><ul><li>User-generated content that is meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile & mobile web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>App overload </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile web standards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gaming for museums </li></ul><ul><li>ePublishing </li></ul>
  34. 42. Establishing a collaborative work environment <ul><li>It’s not rocket science! </li></ul><ul><li>Communication (adjusted to audience) </li></ul><ul><li>Active listening </li></ul><ul><li>Respect, empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Lead by example </li></ul><ul><li>When all else fails, bring in the experts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(hint: each other) </li></ul></ul>
  35. 43. Enable me! <ul><li>Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Operational funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff flux to be expected, can bring vitality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A lively discussion, challenge my assumptions, but resolve to come to one mind and drive on. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Openness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Embrace experiments and “failures” </li></ul></ul>
  36. 44. Weaving a tech plan into an overall strategic plan <ul><li>Process ... takes time </li></ul><ul><li>Open dialog </li></ul><ul><li>Seek dissenting voices </li></ul><ul><li>Determination is good </li></ul><ul><ul><li>wild-catting is not! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pick your battles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plant seeds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>don’t take credit for the harvest </li></ul></ul>
  37. 45. Tech initiatives at the MIA
  38. 46. Tech initiatives: the good <ul><li>Application Programming Interface (API) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>first step toward a solid foundation for digital content presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cloud services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inexpensive, scalable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On-demand storage and processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agility, particularly for testing </li></ul></ul>
  39. 47. Tech initiatives: the bad <ul><li>Customized business systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>every workflow deserves its own system! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>systems must be modified to match time-worn workflows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>codify and formalize all exception cases </li></ul></ul>
  40. 48. Tech initiatives: the bad <ul><li>Multiple website content management systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>and sometimes none at all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ locked” content, unsharable, undiscoverable </li></ul></ul>
  41. 49. Tech initiatives: the ugly <ul><li>Digital Asset Management System </li></ul><ul><ul><li>complex relationship to collections management system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>errors, laborious manual error-checking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hardware failure + backup failure = erosion of trust </li></ul></ul>
  42. 50. Tech initiatives: the ugly <ul><li>Sizable technology footprint </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no virtualization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hardware maintenance & replacement costs </li></ul></ul>
  43. 51. Follow the Leaders <ul><li>Sources for museum technology information, connections, ideas, and helpful colleagues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.mcn.edu </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums and the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AAM - Media and Technology SPC </li></ul></ul>
  44. 52. Thank you! <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@dhegley </li></ul>

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