TrendsWatch 2018: The Planning Edition

Various images of cityscapes with TrendsWatch 2018 in the center.Download a PDF of this scenario.

The American Alliance of Museums launched the Center for the Future of Museums in 2008 and published the first edition of TrendsWatch in 2012. In this sabbatical edition of the annual forecasting report, we are taking a break from our usual format, and producing instead a guide explicitly designed to support museum planning.

With input from the field, we have created four stories of potential futures to help museums come up with creative solutions to the central challenge: how can we create a world informed and enriched by thriving museums? How can museums thrive, in the face of diverse forces of change?

Each scenario provides guidance for structuring conversations around these playful provocations, prompting readers and planning teams to ask questions that can help guide your strategic planning.

  • Do you think the world might really be like this by the year 2040?
  • How would you edit this story to make it reflect your vision of the future?
  • What are the implications of this future for museums?
  • What would you, your family, your organization, your community, be doing, in this world, in order to thrive?

Access these sections of the report:

  • Introduction to Scenarios
  • Our Bright Future: Idealists and pragmatists work together to build a sustainable world
  • Into Darkness: society struggles with digital and physical fragmentation, driven by a decline in civic discourse, and accelerated by the erosion of trust in news and research [Coming in August]
  • A New Equilibrium: a future that might result from existing limits and challenges as they play out in coming decades. [Coming in September] (To explore an early version of this scenario, download Museum 2040, a special issue of Museum magazine..)
  • Wild Times: in which a low probability, high impact event disrupts the best-laid plans. [Coming in October]

These scenarios will be released serially throughout the summer, inviting feedback and comments. In the fall, they will be compiled and published as TrendsWatch 2018, together with a companion workbook and discussion guide.Sponsor images for Blackbaud, HTB, and PGAV.

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