Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Creativity - Museum Practice/Green Practice

In 2014 Linda Norris and Rainey Tisdale co-wrote an awesome book Creativity in Museum Practice.

Their ideas are inspiring, encouraging, enabling, wide-ranging - you get the gist.

Readers can apply Linda's and Rainey's examples, resources, stories, and tips to almost any situation touching our field, and touching our individual worlds.

So you know this is headed toward environmental sustainability.... Here are a few takeaways I use as I work with individuals and whole institutions going green - whatever the scale.

1) "Let's be crystal clear: creativity is not something that only certain people are born with..." p. 20. What got us into this environmental mess won't get us out of it. New ways can. Each of us can think and behave creatively, and can use those abilities to think in new ways to solve an old problem. You know more about your job than anyone else does. Who better to improve upon it? If you apply creativity to thinking about your job, you become the best resource for turning any unsustainable practices into beneficial ones on many levels.

2) SCAMPER: a method developed by Michael Michalko "to guide people through he process of generating ideas." p. 53.  
  • Substitute something
  • Combine with something else 
  • Adapt something to it
  • Modify or Magnify it
  • Put it to some other use 
  • Eliminate something
  • Reverse or Rearrange

Thinking through this series of challenges to business-as-usual helps me help a group generate potential new approaches to reducing waste from exhibits or special events; creating new construction guidelines; or developing new approaches to reducing water use.

3) Pay extra attention: "All of us get used to the places we see every day. What this means is that we don't look closely at what could be different...." p. 111. Habits and assumptions allow us to continue to use energy when we don't really need to (does the first someone in the door turn on all the lights because that's the routine rather than the thoughtful response?). Those habits allow us to buy the same products when we run out even though we hate all the packaging  that comes with the usual brand and we suspect there's a more sustainable option sold somewhere.

Atlanta's Southface Energy has an awesome green roof - look, I tried it!
4) "Don't worry about the perfect change....Try one change and try again, and again....a series of small changes can often be much more effective than a top-to-bottom renovation ... each step lets you understand something...." [more about your challenge]. p. 111.  Prototypes (p. 126), pilots, small-scale tests all help you test new practices or products with less risk, cost, and resource use. So, when you're sure the plants you're choosing for your green roof actually survive in that location under those conditions, then go ahead with the install.

5) Observe how people think, how they behave, what they feel. p. 125. Context is critical whether you're designing for energy efficiency or human behavior change. That's why it's important to watch how people use the recycle, compost, and waste bins as you design and test your new waste management approach. I can spend a lot of time watching people throw stuff out - there's opportunity there and the answers are in how people behave now.

There's so much more this book has to offer the field and the practice of environmental sustainability. Unleash your creativity for good - you'll be amazed at how fun it is to make your museum's environmental impact a positive one.

1 comment:

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