Monday, February 5, 2007

Doritos and Museums: A Match?

What do Doritos and museums have in common? Doritos sponsored a contest for Super Bowl commercials--the winner (you can see it here) was created for a total cost of about $12. What does it have to do with museums? It reinforces the theory--first articulated in this succinct way to me by my colleague Anne Ackerson: Ideas don't cost money! Exhibits can be creative, fun, and meaningful without costing a pile of money. I just groan every time I see an exhibit of wedding dresses, or the chronological history of the community, or views of a region, or the same old topic over and over again. I want to see local history exhibits that go beyond that; that really use museum objects and community knowledge to share--not just the big old line-up of that salt cellar collection! This isn't to say that money doesn't help in the exhibition process--it's great to be able to work with scholars, designers, fabricators and evaluators, but if there's not a big idea, it's not going to work as an exhibit.

In reading an interview with Dale Backus, the creator of the commercial (and only 21) several other important ideas emerge: the commercial was the creative work of a group, brainstorming ideas together. The group wasn't afraid to adapt and change their idea once production began--both because better ideas emerged and because some parts of the plan didn't work. And of course, nothing like a deadline to encourage creativity. Their final commercial was completed just before the submission deadline.

1 comment:

Anne Ackerson said...

Thanks for starting your blog, Linda -- I knew you had it in you! And thanks for crediting me with the pithy statement about great ideas not costing money.

What I want to comment on, though, is the process by which Dale Backus and his buddies created the commercial. Dale outlines a group process that is predicated on the understanding that group idea creation is far richer, and perhaps lightyears better, than doing it by yourself. Group decision-making is also generally better.

Dale describes pretty much all the elements of a high functioning team -- I suspect it was small in number, it clearly focused on a goal that they were passionate about, and team members support one another (as well as the project) by being willing to adapt to changing situations. It's a great model to embrace in the museum workplace.

I often wonder whether boards of trustees can also adopt the high functioning team model, or at least get close to that level.