Help Us Envision the Future of Museum Professional Training with Electronic Brainstorming

PLEASE… by Jeppe Hein, Boston MFA

October 15-19, click here to participate

Have you ever taken part in an electronic brainstorming session? Have you ever even heard of electronic brainstorming?

Electronic brainstorming takes place on the Internet instead of in a conference room. A moderator proposes the topic and invites participants. As a participant, you work individually to post as many ideas as possible to an online bulletin board set up for this purpose. You can see everyone else’s ideas, and you are encouraged to build on the ideas posted by your fellow participants. Because it all happens online, many more people can take part, and you don’t have to generate ideas in the same place at the same time. Moreover, you can be anonymous, which sometimes makes the session more effective (ever been in a face-to-face brainstorming situation where the office politics prevented you from voicing a particular idea?). And because the session takes place over a longer period of time (ideas accumulate over hours and days as each person adds them at his/her own pace), the creative process can unfold a little more naturally.

As we write this book we have looked for opportunities to experiment with different tools for developing and expanding creativity. The more we read about electronic brainstorming, the more we want to run a session with our museum colleagues. So we set one up for next week.

For any kind of brainstorming–in real time or online–you want participants who have a deep understanding of the topic at hand but also bring a variety of different experiences and skills to the table. We though the future of museum professional training would be a great topic for our electronic brainstorming session because it meets both of these criteria. If we chose a topic related to collections or fundraising or family programming then only some of you would have the knowledge needed to come up with good ideas. But so many of you have been students or teachers in museum graduate programs, each with your own experience of what worked and didn’t work. So we hope you’ll join us to see what we can come up with together. What does Museum Training 2.0 look like? What new skills are we looking for in our 21st-century museum workers? How can we prepare museum studies students to improve the field from the inside out?

The session will run from Monday morning, October 15, through midnight on Friday, October 19. We’re using an online tool called wallwisher. No log-in is needed and participation is very simple; all you have to do is follow this link, which will take you to our brainstorming bulletin board. Take a minute to read the instructions at the top of the page, and then double-click anywhere to start posting ideas anonymously. Please actively build on other participants’ ideas as much as possible.

You don’t have to monitor the session the entire time–we suggest you check in for 30-minute spurts a few times throughout the week. We will periodically organize the ideas by theme to make them easier to digest. We will also weed out any comments that evaluate the ideas of others (this process is strictly about generating ideas, not evaluating them).

At the end of next week we’ll see what we got and assess how well the electronic brainstorming went. We’d love to hear your feedback at any point in the process–through email, in the comments section here, or on the wallwisher wall itself.

We’re looking forward to meeting your ideas!

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