Thursday, December 13, 2007

Knowledge Workers

I'm really interested in the knowledge society and what that means for museums and organisational change. I have been re-visiting my Peter Drucker texts and been re-inspired by that man's foresight and genius! Susan Groundwater-Smith also put me onto this useful piece of work by Gurteen (2006) who suggested the following attributes of a knowledge worker:

  • connect people with people
  • connect people with ideas
  • are good networkers
  • do not follow the rules
  • have strong communication skills
  • like people
  • feel good about themselves
  • motivate others
  • are catalysts
  • ask for help
  • demonstrate integrity
  • are self reliant
  • open to share
  • are not afraid
  • are goal oriented
  • are able to identify critical knowledge
  • add value to the organisation
  • have strong subject expertise in a specific area
  • network for results
  • trustworthy - can be trusted and trusts others
  • make decisions
  • are not insular
  • do not conform
  • push the boundaries
  • assume authority - ask for forgiveness, not permission
  • strong belief in the value of knowledge sharing
  • are informal active leaders
  • take a holistic view
  • are catalysts, facilitators and triggers
  • good listeners - they listen first
  • do not need praise
  • see the wider picture
  • work well with others
  • do not have a 'knowledge is power' attitude
  • walk the talk
  • prepared to experiment with technology
  • playful
  • take calculated risks

The Gurteen Knowledge Website is useful too.

Social Media and Cultural Communication Conference 2007

Registration is now open for the Social Media and Cultural Communication Conference 2007. The conference brings together a range of great industry speakers from Australia, Canada, USA and UK. It promises to be a provocative day and is aimed at the needs of those institutions small and large who are yet to start fully exploring the communication opportunities afforded by social media. The conference is a single day event on February 29 at the Museum of Sydney. There will be two related masterclasses on February 28 at the Australian Museum. Find out more at
Earlybird registration closes on 17 December - you can download a registration form at

Friday, December 07, 2007

Locals visiting museums

After my excellent lunch the other day with Rob and Gillian, I got inspired (or was that instructed!) by Rob to re-visit his 2005 paper The "Museum Constant": One-third plus or minus a bit (Visitor Studies Today!, 8/2, pp1, 4-7). Rob reports on an analysis of museum visiting data collected over a 13 year period with Australians asking about their leisure activities, demographic profile and personality/self-description items. Generally it was found that around 35% of the Sydney population visit museums, with the interest in museums more noticeable in those who agreed with the statement "I am interested in abstract ideas", then followed by education level.

Four things struck me from that as we struggle here with thinking about our general exhibitions and program offer:

  1. There is a limit to the audience for museums (knew that but good reinforcement)
  2. The limit '... appears to be driven by people's preferences for conceptual cognitive activity' (p.7)
  3. Although education is a strong predictor it acts as an enabler in people participating in the museum experience
  4. 'It may be that museums in large population centres cannot hope to reach all the people in their catchment, but perhaps over time, they can reach about two-thirds of them' (p.7)

In my recent survey of what Australians do online, I found that while those who visit museums undertake the same kinds of online activities (such as read blogs, comment on sites, use RSS feeds, etc), they were more likely to use a wiki; listen to a podcast; tag a web page; comment on a blog; post a rating/review; participate in a discussion board/forum; read a blog.

I'm wondering in future whether these kinds of stats will be affected by the online world and the new kinds of relationships museums will have with their audiences that visit them both virtually and physically? I'm becoming (surprisingly) more interested in how we then develop closer relationships in these aspects as we our rebuild our website and deeply think about our physical offer. To me, the conceptual aspects that Rob talks about are ripe for the picking in those who will interact with us online too.

Maybe time for some targeted research in this area??