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Exploring the Edge of Innovation in Seattle

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
The Call for Proposals for the Alliance annual meeting is now open.
First piece of news: the theme is (drum roll) “The Innovation Edge.”
Second piece of news: forget the first piece of news. It doesn’t matter.
Well, it does matter to us, the conference organizers. It helps focus our thinking, guide our search for keynote speakers and thought leaders, and make the case for support to local funders. Added bonus if it provokes some new ideas on your part for session proposals (“oh I’ve been meaning to share all about that little innovation project we have going.”) 
But don’t feel obligated to work the word “innovation” into your proposal (whether it naturally belongs there or not), and it doesn’t mean that proposals about innovation have an advantage in the selection process.
[Note, however, that one of the evaluation criteria is “the topic is important and/or timely,” and prospective proposers are directed to TrendsWatch 2013 for guidance on that point. Insert CFM smiley face here.] The session proposal guidelines have more information about the criteria for selection.
OK, with theme settled, on to logistics of the proposal process. Visit the annual meeting webpage for details, but here are some highlights.
You may remember that last year was our first experiment with an on-line submission process that invited crowdsourced input. That had some good points (people felt free to float creative ideas) and some rocky bits (particularly the technology). Here is what we have tweaked this year to improve the process we prototyped in 2013:
  •  You can use the proposal site to post drafts for comment and input (use the “Save” button), but you must, as a final and separate step, use the “Submit” button to send the proposal for review. (This way the system won’t accidentally import incomplete or abandoned proposal drafts.) NOTE: once you submit a session, you can’t edit it.
  • There is a new search function—you can find proposals by searching on any part of the name of the person submitting the session, a key word in the title, or by track/subject area. You can also search on the name of a proposed presenter (but you won’t see their name in the summaries returned by the search—click through to a proposal to check who is presenting.
  • Each proposal also has a comment section where peer discussion can take place—you will receive an email if someone comments on your proposal. This can help you solicit input on your session and search for other presenters.
  • Crowdsourced input is again encouraged: after submissions close on August 26, AAM members will be able to show support for a session by “liking” it. The National Program Committee will take these ratings into account but the number of “likes” won’t determine a proposal’s fate. 

 Our technology team spent a lot of time on the look and feel of the site to make it more user-friendly. We hope you like the improvements and look forward to your feedback on this iteration of the site.
To get things rolling, I’ve posted a draft proposal on behalf of CFM exploring how museums are harnessing the Internet of Things—networked objects and sensors—in the service of building management, security, collections care, marketing and interpretation. I’ll be writing a follow up post on that proposal (which you can read on the proposal site), telling you how Phil and I are developing the session, and what kind of input we would like from you.

Now—go forth and propose. I look forward to reading your submissions!
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