Spotlight: The Forum One Design Team

Forum One

Good design is engaging, attractive, and usable. Mission-driven organizations rely on Forum One to bring their ideas to life through designs that inform and inspire action. What the design team does. Through format and design, we can lead audiences to explore and then engage.

Team 46

Designing for Nonprofits: Our Commentary + Experience

Media Cause

Within Media Cause’s Creative, Brand, and Design team, one of our favorite things to do— besides creating incredible work for our clients—is sharing inspirational and educational resources with each other: articles, POVs, webinars, classes, books, case studies, blogs, tutorials, cheese.

Insiders

Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Trending Sources

The Participatory Museum, Five Years Later

Museum 2.0

This week marks five years since the book The Participatory Museum was first released. I wrote The Participatory Museum for two reasons: to explore the "how" of participatory design in museums, cultural centers, libraries, and science centers to create a version of this blog that was more "shareable" with organizational leaders and trustees By many measures, the book has been a success. Those people are driven not by the design precept of participation.

17 Ways We Made our Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

It is multi-disciplinary, incorporates diverse voices from our community, and provides interactive and participatory opportunities for visitor involvement. This post focuses on one aspect of the exhibition: its participatory and interactive elements. Pull up an armchair for a tour of our participatory hits, misses, and related discoveries. So many museum exhibitions relegate the participatory bits in at the end. In this case, the tradeoff was in design.

Trainer’s Notebook: The Digital Nonprofit: A Participatory Workshop

Beth Kanter

Last week at the IFC-Asia , I co-designed and facilitated a 90 minute workshop with Marco Kuntze titled “ The Digital NGO: The Journey from Paper to Screen.” There are different ways to design a participatory workshop. A more participatory approach, and one that Allen Gunn uses, is to crowdsource provocative questions from participants. It is also important to design a similar process for each small group to work through.

Trainer’s Notebook: Just A Few Participatory Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Many of us do this and take content notes, but it is also great to take notes about instructional design and facilitation techniques. I also had an opportunity to attend a couple of sessions that used participatory facilitation techniques. If you are new to participatory facilitation techniques, use the Spectagram as an opener and use it to better understand skill levels in the room. This approach to brainstorming and synthesis is based on Design Thinking methods.

Participatory Design Vs. Design for Participation: Exploring the Difference

Museum 2.0

Which of these descriptions exemplifies participatory museum practice? Museum staff create an exhibit by a traditional internal design process, but the exhibit, once open, invites visitors to contribute their own stories and participation. But the difference between the two examples teases out a problem in differentiating "participatory design" from "design for participation." In the first case, you are making the design process participatory.

12 Ways We Made our Santa Cruz Collects Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

This exhibition represents a few big shifts for us: We used a more participatory design process. Our previous big exhibition, All You Need is Love, was highly participatory for visitors but minimally participatory in the development process. Instead of a total budget of $200 for participatory elements, we spent about $4,000 on materials for participatory elements in this exhibition. We focused more on design.

Making Participatory Processes Visible to Visitors

Museum 2.0

In many cases, once the final project is launched, it's hard to detect the participatory touch. Not every participatory process has to scream "look at me!" But it's a shame when visitors can't experience the energy that went into the making of a participatory project--when the product of a living process is a dead thing. youth exhibition participatory museum interactives

Balancing Engagement: Adventures in Participatory Exhibit Labels

Museum 2.0

They’re no longer “an exhibit” per se—more of an evocative design element that hints at an important story told elsewhere in the museum. We decided to approach the label-writing for these boards in a participatory way. exhibition participatory museum interactivesWe’ve been doing a little experiment at our museum with labels. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum recently loaned us some fabulous surfboards that tell the co-mingled history of surfing and redwood trees in Santa Cruz.

Participatory Moment of Zen: Diverse Visitor Contributions Add Up to Empathy

Museum 2.0

This person is writing about a participatory element (the "pastport") that we included in the exhibition Crossing Cultures. The suitcase collaborators contributed to the exhibition for months, through a sequence of outreach, discussion, writing, object sourcing, editing, and design. design exhibition Museum of Art and History participatory museum usercontent Whoever wrote this comment card: thank you. You made my month.

Adventures in Evaluating Participatory Exhibits: An In-Depth Look at the Memory Jar Project

Museum 2.0

Two years ago, we mounted one of our most successful participatory exhibits ever at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History: Memory Jars. Two years later, this project is still one of the most fondly remembered participatory experiences at the museum--by visitors and staff. We keep trying to find ways to assign numbers to different kinds of participatory projects at the MAH. What approaches have you used or considered for evaluating participatory projects?

Kids, Coercion, and Co-Design

Museum 2.0

There's a constant dialogue in participatory work about how to make peoples' contributions meaningful. I've written about different structures for participatory processes (especially in museums), and recently, I've been interested in how we can apply these structures to the design of public space. This grappling led me to a fascinating "ladder of participation" about kids' engagement in environmental design written by Dr. Roger Hart of Cornell ( 1992 paper ).

Our Museum: Extraordinary Resources on How Museums and Galleries Become Participatory Places

Museum 2.0

Most participatory projects were short-term, siloed innovations, not institutional transformations. The evaluation additionally called out some faulty assumptions in program design about leadership and staff continuity throughout the multi-year process. While that was painful for the organizations involved, it also helped force the issue of whether participatory engagement could be core to a strong future business model for each organization or not.

Foot in the Door: A Powerful Participatory Exhibit

Museum 2.0

While there, I was lucky to get to experience a highly participatory exhibition that the MIA mounts once a decade: Foot in the Door. The design constraint is simple to understand, specific enough to be interesting, and doesn't prescribe the output. Some more savvy contributors even thought about how their work would read in a very busy gallery stuffed with art--another kind of design constraint that can spur creativity. The design promotes dialogue among and about artworks.

Adventures in Participatory Audience Engagement at the Henry Art Gallery

Museum 2.0

In 2009 , students built a participatory exhibit from scratch. Thirteen students produced three projects that layered participatory activities onto an exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection of the Henry Art Gallery. To that end, they designed and executed three projects: Xavier , an opportunity for visitors to "talk" with a sculpture in the exhibition via magnetic quotation boards and alphabet fridge magnets. Projects participatory museum

8 Fantastic Facilitation Playbooks for Designing Productive Nonprofit Meetings

Beth Kanter

Whether our meeting is useless or valuable depends on how we design, facilitate, and follow up. Meeting design is more than just agenda planning or identifying topics. You also need to establish meeting norms or rules of engagement and then design and facilitate the process to get results. Often, we get stuck in meeting design ruts where we blindly follow the same template or recipe. The facilitation methods are participatory. Facilitation Training Design

What Could Kill an Elegant, High-Value Participatory Project?

Museum 2.0

It's my "artistic rendering" of one of the most inspirational participatory projects I know of--the Bibliotheek Haarlem Oost book drops. This brilliant design allowed patrons to create new knowledge about the books in the library while only slightly adjusting their book-returning behavior. This design inspires me because it creates new value out of what visitors already do. Tags: design participatory museum

Getting in on the Act: New Report on Participatory Arts Engagement

Museum 2.0

Last month, the Irvine Foundation put out a new report, Getting In On the Act , about participatory arts practice and new frameworks for audience engagement. I've often been asked about examples of participatory practice in theater, dance, and classical music, and this report is a great starting point. It can be easy to conflate engaging activities with participatory opportunities, and I'm glad they were explicit about the difference.

What Do You Need to Make the Argument for Participatory Design?

Museum 2.0

As many of you know, I’m writing a book about participatory design for museums. The book is intended to be a practical guide to participatory museum experiences focused on design strategies, case studies, and activities. I believe that demystifying participatory design and encouraging professionals to try it is the most important step towards its evolution as a museum practice. The WHY of participatory design is really important.

Human-Centered Design & AI: Google AI Impact Summit

Beth Kanter

There was also a fantastic panel discussion on the way to apply Human-Centered design to AI projects and its importance. The panel was facilitated by Di Dang, Google Developer Design Advocate.

Self-Expression is Overrated: Better Constraints Make Better Participatory Experiences

Museum 2.0

When I talk about designing participatory experiences, I often show the above graphic from Forrester Research. Museums see open-ended self-expression as the be-all of participatory experiences. Allowing visitors to select their favorite exhibits in a gallery or comment on the content of the labels isn’t seen as valuable a participatory learning experience as producing their own content. Would you design an interactive exhibit that only 1% of visitors would want to use?

What Happens When a Viral Participatory Project is Too Successful? Diagnosing the Power of the Love Locks

Museum 2.0

And so, one of the most successful, accidental, and fraught participatory projects of the past decade comes to an end. No one planned the love locks, but their success is rooted in the same principles that make all the best participatory projects work: it requires no instructions beyond its own example. So many participatory projects do the opposite, requiring you to take a dozen tricky steps to no meaningful end.

Fundraising as Participatory Practice: Myths, Realities, Possibilities

Museum 2.0

As a designer, I'm always trying to ensure that participatory activities, however casual, impact both the participant and the organization. If fundraisers are so keen on relationships, why weren't they the first into social media and participatory projects on behalf of their organizations? Interestingly, in the participatory design model I'm more familiar with on the Web and in collaborative project design, the fundamental issues are different.

The Johnny Cash Project: A Participatory Music Video That Sings

Museum 2.0

This question is a byproduct of the reality that most participatory projects have poorly articulated value. When a participatory activity is designed without a goal in mind, you end up with a bunch of undervalued stuff and nowhere to put it. But the best participatory projects don't suffer from this problem, because they solicit visitors' contributions toward a very specific outcome. The project is designed to scale.

Music 38

Guest Post by Nina Simon -- Self-Expression is Overrated: Better Constraints Make Better Participatory Experiences

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

When I talk about designing participatory experiences, I often show the above graphic from Forrester Research. Museums see open-ended self-expression as the be-all of participatory experiences. Allowing visitors to select their favorite exhibits in a gallery or comment on the content of the labels isn’t seen as valuable a participatory learning experience as producing their own content. Would you design an interactive exhibit that only 1% of visitors would want to use?

What I Learned from Beck (the rock star) about Participatory Arts

Museum 2.0

It is what it sounds like: a book of original sheet music, beautifully designed and complemented with artwork and text. Beck''s project is unusual because he deliberately resurrected a mostly-defunct participatory platform: sheet music for popular songs. In his thoughtful preface to this project, I reconnected with five lessons I''ve learned from participatory projects in museums and cultural sites. They are designed to do different things.

Participatory Internships in Santa Cruz this School Year

Museum 2.0

I'm particularly excited about two internships that relate to participatory exhibition design. First, there is the Participatory Exhibit Design Internship. These interns work with our curatorial team to develop interactive and participatory components for upcoming exhibitions. So if you want to help develop an unconference and explore participatory exhibit design, this internship is right for you.

Book Announcement: The Participatory Museum is now available!

Museum 2.0

The Participatory Museum is a practical guide to visitor participation. The Participatory Museum is an attempt at providing such a resource. I hope it opens up a broader conversation about the nuts and bolts of successful participatory projects. blog, many case studies and design principles in the book will be new to even the most devoted blog followers. At 388 pages, there's a lot to explore and to help you refine your thinking and participatory project planning.

Making Museum Tours Participatory: A Model from the Wing Luke Asian Museum

Museum 2.0

The institution is community-funded, staffed, and designed. The new building was designed to meet neighborhood needs--not just in the content covered, but in the inclusion of spaces made for particular kinds of activities sought by locals (i.e. She did several things over the course of the tour to make it participatory, and she did so in a natural, delightful way. But participatory facilitation can be taught. Tags: personalization participatory museum

A Crash Course in Design Thinking for Network Leadership Skills

Beth Kanter

Last month, I participated in a Design Thinking Lab with network leadership practitioners convened by the Leadership Learning Community. The session was an introduction to design thinking methods and to generate ideas for instructional modules for networked leadership development. The design challenge was: How do we come up with concrete tools, frameworks and methods for helping people better understand and adopt network systems leadership? That is not design thinking.

Lessons in Participatory Design from SFMOMA's Exhibition on (you guessed) The Art of Participation

Museum 2.0

The Art of Participation provides a retrospective on participatory art as well as presenting opportunities for visitors to engage in contemporary (“now”) works. While many of the artifacts of historical art pieces are arresting, the pieces of “now” form an exciting testbed for gallery-based participatory engagement, albeit in a meta way around the topic of participation. DON’T make the participatory activity too narrow or difficult. Here are two pictures. The first one is me.

The Participatory Museum Process Part 4: Adventures in Self-Publishing

Museum 2.0

This is the final segment in a four-part series about writing The Participatory Museum. This posts explains why and how I self-published The Participatory Museum. I decided to self-publish The Participatory Museum for four reasons: OPENNESS: I wanted the flexibility to license and distribute the book using an open structure to promote sharing. I also paid a fabulous illustrator, Jennifer Rae Atkins , to design the covers and a few of the interior images.

The Participatory Museum Process Part 2: Participants' Experiences

Museum 2.0

This is the second in a four-part series about writing The Participatory Museum. Several hundred people contributed their opinions, stories, suggestions, and edits to The Participatory Museum as it was written. Many people wrote at length about their passion for participatory design and their desire to contribute to what they saw as an important resource that would "help advance the field." Tags: Book: The Participatory Museum

The Participatory Museum Process Part 3: My Experience

Museum 2.0

This is the third in a four-part series about writing The Participatory Museum. This post covers my personal process of encouraging--and harnessing--participation in the creation of The Participatory Museum. As the participatory content review progressed well, I started looking for other ways for people to help. I also put out frequent calls on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog for quick comment on various bits, from the cover design to the blurbs for the back to the title.

Design for Participation: Video from NODEM 2010

Museum 2.0

I focused on three surprising things I've learned about design for participation both in physical spaces and on the Web: the importance of constraints and scaffolding to supporting creative and social participation the role design plays in driving how people participate the essential necessity for the institution to be responsive to participants If you want to download the slides, they're here. participatory museum

What a Difference a Prompt Makes. Simple Analysis of a Participatory Exhibit Element

Museum 2.0

We decided to show a selection of Danny's lists in a hallway surrounded by a participatory element where we invite visitors to contribute to new lists on evocative themes ("Things we forget," "The best feelings in the world," etc.) Museum of Art and History design usercontent interactivesI am fascinated by the incredible differences in what people contribute based on format and phrasing of the invitation to participate.

A Community-Driven Approach to Program Design

Museum 2.0

Museum of Art and History programs participatory museumHow do you develop programs that are responsive to your community in a meaningful way? How do you find out what's important to different communities, and how do you change your plans based on their needs? At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), we've started experimenting with a "community first" approach to program development.

A City and an Art Center Design the Future: Reflections on the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Museum 2.0

The result was a true experiment in designing the future--right here, right now--with artists and planners and civic leaders at the helm together. The Market Street Prototyping Festival stirred up a few thoughts related to design in public places, prototyping, and communicating complexity. DESIGN IN PUBLIC SPACE - CONFRONTATION VS. INVITATION Just because you put something in front of a lot of people doesn''t mean they''ll take you up on it. "The arts are future-making."

Why Are So Many Participatory Experiences Focused on Teens?

Museum 2.0

Over the past year, I've noticed a strange trend in the calls I receive about upcoming participatory museum projects: the majority of them are being planned for teen audiences. And while I enjoy working with youth and consuming their creations as a museum visitor, I'd like to call into question the idea that they are or should be the primary audience for participatory experiences. Why are teens over-represented in participatory projects?

Teen 23

Fifteen Random Things I've Learned about Design for Participation This Year

Museum 2.0

We've been offering a host of participatory and interactive experiences at the Museum of Art & History this season. I loved Jasper Visser's list of 30 "do's" for designing participatory projects earlier this month. Design paired activities to reflect or at least respect the sensibility of their work, and where possible, involve them in the design. This isn't even participatory. Museum of Art and History design participatory museum usercontent

Guest Post: Using Participation to Solve a Design Problem at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Museum 2.0

In a straightforward way, Marilyn explains how her team developed a participatory project to improve engagement in a gallery with an awkward entry. This is a perfect example of a museum using participation as a design solution. We tested five versions of the prompt sheets--some with instructions focused to the subject of the exhibition (artists' takes on nature), others with more open-ended instructions designed to encourage a broader range of responses.

Get on the Bus: How Mass Transit Design Affects Participatory Potential

Museum 2.0

Posts under that tag tend to examine non-museum things, from malls to games to ad campaigns , and draw some design lessons for museums from their foreignness. Specifically, we analyze the relative social behavior of people on buses versus those on trains, and look for clues as to what design elements contribute to different kinds of participatory behavior. What design elements make buses more social than trains? There's a tag applied to many Museum 2.0