Thursday, May 29, 2008

Innovation and the Future of Science Centers: Your Thoughts Wanted

In a couple of weeks, I will be traveling to Toronto to participate in the Science Center World Congress. This is a conference that purports to focus on big picture, international science center strategy rather than how to explode balloons (which, frankly, is one of my favorite parts of ASTC).

As part of the conference, I'll be presenting with Eric Siegel (Director, New York Hall of Science), Jennifer Martin (VP Programs and Operations, Telus World of Science Calgary), Andrea Bandelli (independent brilliant guy, Netherlands), and Beverly Damonse (Executive Director, South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) about "innovation and the future of science centers." As is the fashion these days, we're trying to avoid the standard 15 minutes of powerpoint drudgery apiece and present something a bit more engaging. To do so, we've each taken a single topic related to innovation and science centers to serve as a kind of launching point for discussion.

Eric questions whether innovation is even necessary in science centers. Jennifer explores the impact of including visitors in the process of innovation. Andrea considers how museums can innovate on multiple levels, from institutional to governmental. I look at the skunkworks model for non-sweeping change. And Beverly takes a broad view from a national perspective.

Please join the conversation started in the voicethread below. Add your voice to the discussion, and help us shape the direction our session will take in Toronto on June 16. We hope to include as many people as possible--both real-time and through technology--in the debate about the role of innovation in our museums.

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