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Throwback Thursday: TrendsWatches Past

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

As we have just released TrendsWatch 2014, the obvious candidates for this week’s Throwback are the posts in which I introduced the first two editions of the report. I hope you use this opportunity to become acquainted with or revisit our themes for 2012 and 2013. 

Introducing TrendsWatch, Your Digest of the Future
Excerpted from a post published on 3/8/2012. Read the original post here.

After reviewing over seven hundred news items from the past 12 months, seven trends

floated to the top:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Threats to nonprofit status
  • Mobile, distributed experience
  • New forms of funding (microfunding, crowdfunding)
  • Creating aging
  • Augmented reality
  • Shifts in education
Skip over related stories to continue reading article

We sought out examples of museums responding creatively to these trends, imagined how the bright or dark futures these trends might create, and asked for advice from a cadre of wise advisors about what museums might do now in order to surf these tides of change.

But I’ve said enough—go read the report! TrendsWatch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future is available as a free download from the CFM website. Please share it with colleagues—debate, discuss, dispute, emend, adapt and apply it to your work.

 This post provides a general update on each of these trends. You can find posts on specific trends using the search function at the top of the blog.

CFM Returns to the Future with TrendsWatch 2013
Excerpted from a post originally published Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Read the original post here 

The Alliance has just released TrendsWatch 2013: Back to the Future, CFM’s second annual watch list of important emergent trends.

If we’re right, and the trends we’ve tagged this year shape the evolution of museums, a museum visit in the future may go something like this:

  • On the way in, a staff member asks if you want to borrow a “digital disconnect” pouch for your mobile device, to help you go offline for a stress-free visit;
  • But you decide to opt for the fully immersive digital experience. You authorize your mobile device to track your progress through the museum, pull information from exhibits as you approach, synch with your bio-monitor wristband to assess your reaction to the experience and suggest what other galleries you might enjoy;
  • Feeling a bit tired, you take a break to visit the museum’s lounge—a popular gathering place for residents of the many “micro-apartment” developments that have popped up in the surrounding neighborhood;
  • In the lounge, you kick back with your tablet to complete an essay you’ve been writing on the current temporary exhibit, which earn credits towards your digital badge in Art History from the museum’s education department;
  • Having submitted the essay, while you finish your latte you bring up the museum’s website to check the dashboard metrics on the teen art lab project you are supporting. You are pleased to see that the museum has documented a decrease in school absenteeism and an increased graduation rate among the teens participants;
  • On the way out you stop at the museum store to pick up a print-on-demand miniature reproduction of your favorite sculpture (having texted your order to the shop’s 3-D printing center on your way through the gallery).

Each of the elements in this story builds on one of the six trends highlighted in the new report—trends that CFM’s staff and advisors believe are highly significant to museums and their communities, based on our scanning and analysis over the past year. For each trend, we provide a brief summary, list examples of how the trend is playing out in the world, comment on the trend’s significance to society and to museums specifically, and suggest ways that museums might respond. There are also copious links to additional readings.

Here are posts with updates on the Internet of Things as well as a specific example of indoor wayfinding, the future of education, and philanthropy.

We continue to monitor the 13 trends identified in the first two editions of the report. I hope you will continue to share examples of how crowdsourcing, pop-up culture, digital detox, threats to nonprofit status and these other drivers of change are playing out in your museum and your community.

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