Over the weekend, I took my kids to the movie, Night of Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. They thoroughly enjoyed watching the exhibits come to life. (My kids especially liked the Einstein bobbing heads). Now the Smithsonian Institution, in a flash of cloud like behavior, is coming to life on the social web.
The Smithsonian Institution is in the midst of a huge strategic planning effort, with new media as one of the focal points for its future. It looks like their strategic planning process is being extended by the social web, going beyond the traditional flip charts and chocolate chip cookies of all-day planning retreats. While they may be also be doing focus groups and surveys, it looks like they've added a research channel: YouTube.
Welcome to Smithsonian 2.0!
They're doing some crowdsourcing via their YouTube Channel. The Smithsonian has opened the conversation up to the world and is inviting people to submit a one-minute video sharing their vision for the Institution's future. The question they're asking:
There's a handful of videos already submitted and just gotta love this one with the baby.
The text of the invitation on YouTube is as follows:
They're asking folks to join this YouTube group and submit a one-minute video by June 30th. I wonder who they are reaching out to, why they selected YouTube (are there other places where people who are interested in the future of the Smithsonian gather?), are they reaching out to new media professionals as well as others?
It will be interesting to see how they summarizing the feedback and illustrate how they plan to incorporate it into their strategic planning.
Update: Found some additional materials from Nina Simond at Museum 2.0
Video of her lecture here.
Conversation about this on the WestMuse Blog
in the comments. There was a response from someone at the Smithsonian who answered Dave Cormier's query about why they are doing it and how to nurture the conversation.
Mike Edson is really the guy to address this, as the Web & New Media Strategy is his: http://Smithsonian20.si.edu but since I’m here:
The Voice Your Vision Project is just one more facet of the overall info gathering process. Video contribution seemed like a potentially engaging way to gather some public input, and YouTube was an easy place to set it up. This wasn’t a heavily analyzed endeavor, just another little piece of the puzzle.
The process has been designed to be very wide open within the Institution, so this seemed a easy and fun way to gather some input from the outside using New Media.
Nothing cynical, and no worry about losing funding. The Secretary is a Social Media booster. However, getting an institution as large as ours to undertake an integrated approach to New and Social Media is a big task. Building our systems from the ground up to both meet the internal needs of our researchers and other specialists while still filtering up to meet the needs of our constituents via our websites and our presence on an ever widening array of external social sites is going to take a lot of resources. We need begin to get a view from a lot of perspectives, and this is just one more slice of the pie.
So, not only are they opening up a two-way conversation, they are using social media best practices: listening and experimenting. Also being very transparent.