The Museum Computer Network’s 42nd annual conference held in Dallas this year was one of the best I’ve ever attended. There was a whole lot of learning, sharing and schmoozing going on in our tight knit crowd of 450 attendees, not to mention the crazy karaoke! The theme was Think Big, Start Small, Create!
Lance Weiler, writer, director, experience designer and keynote speaker, lifted the conference way off the ground and into the idea-sphere. He captivated us all with descriptions of projects like Pandemic and Sherlock, using storytelling and digital technology to produce fascinating, massive, complex events where thousands of people interact in both physical and virtual game worlds.
He also inspired us with descriptions of projects like Lyka (a good fit for museums!) and MySkyIsFalling, which harness storytelling and digital technology for social change. Importantly, he emphasized the value of designing with the people you are designing for. This approach works with school children and teens aging out of the foster care system, and it can work as well with museum curators, conservators and schoolteachers.
Toward the end of his talk he asked “How do you know if your project has succeeded?” I’d say see how long people stick with the activity, and how often they come back. People want to feel a sense of belonging, and to be respected – to feel smart, valued for who they are and what they have to give. Weiler’s methods create this relationship. They’re exciting, productive and worth learning from. I’m eager to apply his thinking to our work for clients going forward. I encourage you to discover Lance Weiler for yourself. Start by listening to his entire MCN talk here.
The next post will also be about why this is such a good conference to attend, in summaries of the sessions I attended. Stay tuned.