‘Organisational change’ session at MW2009

I was chairing the session so my notes are a bit sketchy. It’s worth reading the full papers and following the slides online.

Intro notes: it’s an interesting moment for the sector, maturity of approaches to the web. Turning the analytical gaze inwards, working towards a more effective, integrated and considered use of technology. This brings new challenges in managing expectations and demand. Wider consultation means adapting our language and understanding, but the benefits of collaboration are worth it.

Organisational Change for the On-line World – Steering the Good Ship Museum Victoria
David Methven, Head, ICT, and Timothy Hart, Director, Information Multimedia and Technology, Museum Victoria, Australia.  Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/museumsandtheweb/tim-hart-david-methven-organisational-change-for-the-online-world-steering-the-good-ship-museum-victoria

Tim Hart started, talking about their in-sourcing model; build capability, drive money otherwise spent outsourced inside the org. Interruption by David! Trying to change org culture, ‘blah blah blah’. They used an audience volunteer for dramatisation!
Therapy for Tim. Circle. Telling people what we should be doing, not how. Changing work practices. Not consulting us, asking us what we want to do and how we should change what we’re doing.
Process. Once strategy was done, job not done. Didn’t understand how much ownership the org wanted of the strategy. People who weren’t involved in the process kicked up.
Established exhibition production processes.
Interesting conceptual model. Relationship.
Internal experience of applications, IT systems.

Down To Earth: Social Media and Institutional Change
Patricia Deiser, Museum voor Communicatie; and Vincent de Keijzer, Gemeentemuseum, The Netherlands. Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/museumsandtheweb/vincent-de-keijzer-patricia-deiser-down-to-earth-social-media-and-institutional-change

Vincent and Patricia: addressing people who are not willing or able to come to the museum. New roles for the public. Make use of knowledge, time, enthusiasm of the public.
Brave new world, head spinning. But had to get down to earth. Colleagues were being polite, but no one was actually doing anything. Realised approaching it in the wrong way – presenting it as something everyone is doing, we should be doing it. But should try to convince them about what would benefit them in these web 2.0 things. Had to seduce them. Much harder to do. Asked experts from outside the museum to help develop online strategy. Stop talking with people outside the museum, start talking with people inside the museum about this. Let people discuss it among themselves. Let them go online, learn about it for themselves. Low profile platform for staff to experiment. Start with your own, internal community, build a community from there.
Continuous access to cultural heritage with university of Amsterdam. Built a platform for museum staff, for ideas, proposals, projects. Asked Patricia, as a student, to research, interview colleagues. Outsider perspective.
Machiavelli quote.
Patricia’s research: How do people interact with public, how much do they know about web technology, do they use it themselves; what are they enthusiastic about?
Talked about research process. Showed colleagues examples of other things. Asked colleagues to research their presence online on e.g. Flickr, see what people had already put out there.
Models of staff members from the research: Lecturer – likes to prepare thoroughly, then make a publication/presentation of it. One-way focus. they send their knowledge out to the public, not interested in feedback from people who aren’t also scholars.
Fear of losing expertise if everything goes online.
Educators – not people in education dept, label for group. More into interaction, want some feedback . Teacher – pupil relationship. Afraid of examples where people could load UGC onto website.
Presenters – same attitude to communication as educators, but more advanced in web technology.
Interactors – already working with the public, do want to have interaction with public, but not advanced with technology. Old school education departments
Connectors – same attitudes to public, but advanced in using web technology.
Mapped staff into the categories. Difficult diagram to show internally! Scale of communication style (one way, two way focused) and use of technology. Difficult to get everyone into connectors corner, but at least get people to move up scale on use of technology.
Communities of practice.
Everything that goes onto desk goes onto website.
Still needs a lot of social skills, persuasion.

After the Heroism, Collaboration: Organizational Learning and the Mobile Space
Peter Samis and Stephanie Pau, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA. Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/psamis/after-the-heroism-collaboration-organizational-learning-and-the-mobile-space

Stephanie and Peter: digital and analogue resources. Benefiting from experience of other institutes either as staff change or working with other orgs.
Interpretive goal process. Cross departmental dialogue and interpretive brainstorm process. Workshop – answers to basic questions to help formulate a strategy.
Key questions – what’s the rationale for this project? Why here, why now?
List 1 – 3 main visitor take aways.
Who’s the intended audience, and why?
What didactic elements are planned? What other modes of interp inc multimedia should we consider?
Case studies. Showing how the process worked in exhibs with really different requirements.
Peter – evaluation studies. Different modes of use – wall texts vs multimedia guides.
“What a visual interface brings to the party…” Break picture into components, not a slave to a minute and a half overview.
What people want – pre-loaded vs call in.
Sharing usage figures – ace.
What information did on-site visitors not get? if they didn’t have the cell phones. Breakdown of what content was available by which methods.

‘The 50 Most Important Women in Science’

More inspiration for Ada Lovelace Day 2009 from Discover magazine’s 2002 list of The 50 Most Important Women in Science. Not everyone listed is directly involved with technology, but it’s worth checking them out anyway, because as the article points out, ‘[i]f just one of these women had gotten fed up and quit—as many do—the history of science would have been impoverished’:

Three percent of tenured professors of physics in this country are women. Nonetheless, a woman physicist stopped light in her lab at Harvard. Another woman runs the linear accelerator at Stanford. A woman discovered the first evidence for dark matter. A woman found the top quark. The list doesn’t stop there, but the point is clear.

Three years ago, Discover started a project to look into the question of how women fare in science. We knew there were large numbers of female researchers doing remarkable work, and we asked associate editor Kathy A. Svitil to talk to them. The result of her investigation is a selection of 50 of the most extraordinary women across all the sciences. Their achievements are detailed in the pages that follow.

To read their stories is to understand how important it is that the barriers facing women in science be broken down as quickly and entirely as possible. If just one of these women had gotten fed up and quit—as many do—the history of science would have been impoverished. Even the women who have stuck with it, even those who have succeeded spectacularly, still report that being a woman in this intensely male world is, at best, challenging and, at worst, downright disheartening.

It will take goodwill and hard work to make science a good choice for a woman, but it is an effort at which we cannot afford to fail. The next Einstein or the next Pasteur may be alive right now—and she might be thinking it’s not worth the hassle.

An easy candidate for Ada Lovelace Day – Barbara Liskov, winner of the 2008 Turing Award

How cool is she? ACM Turing Award Goes to Creator of Influential Innovations in Computer Software Design

NEW YORK, March 10, 2009 – ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named Barbara Liskov of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) the winner of the 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award.  The award cites Liskov for her foundational innovations to designing and building the pervasive computer system designs that power daily life.  Her achievements in programming language design have made software more reliable and easier to maintain.  They are now the basis of every important programming language since 1975, including Ada, C++, Java, and C#.  The Turing Award, widely considered the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing.  The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

The first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. from a Computer Science department (in 1968 from Stanford University), Liskov revolutionized the programming field with groundbreaking research that underpins virtually every modern computer application for both consumers and businesses. Her contributions have led to fundamental changes in building the computer software programs that form the infrastructure of our information-based society. Her legacy has made software systems more accessible, reliable, and secure 24/7.

Finding Ada – creating new female role models

I should be studying for exams but I wanted to quickly post about Ada Lovelace Day. The organiser asks for pledges to “publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire”. You can find out more about why at the link above, but the point about why role models are important is worth repeating:

Undoubtedly it’s a complex issue, but recent research may shed some light: Psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones.

Well, that’s a relatively simple problem to begin to address. If women need female role models, let’s come together to highlight the women in technology that we look up to. Let’s create new role models and make sure that whenever the question “Who are the leading women in tech?” is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues.

Thus was born Ada Lovelace Day, and this pledge:

“I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same.”

Who would you blog about? I’ve signed the pledge so I’d better start thinking.

[Edited to add: if you’re interested in researching and making information about inspiring female role models accessible, you might be interested in ‘modern bluestocking‘. Contributions and suggestions are very welcome, especially from a technical perspective. And I will be shamelessly checking out suggestions for Ada Lovelace Day to add to the nascent modernbluestocking topic on Freebase.]

Via the Museums Computer Group list, the Emerging Technologies Initiative 2007 Horizon Report has just been released. It “highlights six technologies that the underlying research suggests will become very important to higher education over the next one to five years. A central focus of the discussion of each technology is its relevance for teaching, learning, and creative expression. Live weblinks to example applications are provided in each section, as well as to additional readings.”