Category: Strategy

Today, Nancy Proctor, the head of mobile strategy and initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution, gave an online talk about Smithsonian’s mobile strategy.

Here are key points and comments Nancy shared about developing mobile products… (more…)

What’s the difference between a science museum and a science center? To insiders, the difference is the extent a museum is based on a collection of objects vs. experiences they create for visitors.

To the public, it’s largely immaterial. (more…)

Social media can feel like you are talking to the world, but in reality there’s a lot of self-selection going on. So know your audience.

Before the Internet, the gatekeepers of public information (journalists, editors and producers) considered the needs of audiences for you. These gatekeepers would filter a fire-hose of information in press releases and technical publications to deliver a digested slivers of information via television news, tv, print, and trade press. Other kinds of technical information was discussed at conferences, at meetings, in journals or in private. (See my post about “Fall of the gatekeepers“)  (more…)

National security is a useful angle for presenting science, art and culture issues to disengaged or skeptical audiences.

Like any hook, such as sports or popular culture, military and national security themes broaden an audience for outreach. There are over 3.6M military personnel in the U.S., 1.9M spouses & kids of active duty members, and over 22M veterans, who also have families. (Stats on personnel & families, and veterans.)

There are several initiatives which are bridging the military world with the sciences and culture…


On Twitter, almost no one hears you. Or at least that’s the case for 99.95% of Twitter users whose Tweets evaporate into the aether, scrolling off the feed, leaving scarcely a trace.

According to statistics released last week by Twitter, users now send a billion Tweets a week (up nearly 3x from 350M a year ago). But most of those Tweets get little attention, reports a new study, to be presented next week at a web conference in India. The study found that attention is highly concentrated among a very narrow slice of Twitter users. Read on for more about the findings…

The term “strategic communications” has become popular over the last two decades. It means infusing communications efforts with an agenda and a master plan. Typically, that master plan involves promoting the brand of an organization, urging people to do specific actions, or advocating particular legislation.

It can refer to both a process, and to a specific job title.


Small differences have a big effect when trying to coax thousands or millions of people. This includes urging online readers to take an action. This post looks at how IDEA used small ads on one of our projects (a small, free web-based exhibit about Daylight Saving Time) to promote another project (a 99¢ app about Daylight Saving Time sold via the Apple app store). This post looks at statistics and ratios… (more…)

Museums increasingly realize that if they want government funding and support, they need to make a case for it, and get their voice heard. So today and tomorrow is ‘Museums Advocacy Day.’ Flocks of staff, volunteers, trustees, students, even museum enthusiasts are rallying to make a strong case to legislators for governmental support, both online and on Capitol Hill. (more…)

On the screens of millions of iPad and other mobile devices, moons and stars, elements and molecules swirl beneath our fingertips. Developer Mike Howard says he wants to “make you feel like you are actually there in orbit.” Theodore Gray wants you to look at the periodic table and be transported to the world of Harry Potter, feeling as “if you checked out a magical version of The Elements from the Hogwarts library.”

Apps represent a shift in how students and the public learn about science. Currently, the best science apps are not being created by museums, traditional publishers, or curriculum developers — They are being created by enthusiastic solo developers, research centers, and new software companies with a penchant for science and public education. We’ll look at what motivated these app creators, what it took to make the apps, and how successful they have been. (more…)

More people are using fast smartphones, and expect to get their information on their phones. In the last quarter of 2010, approx 95 million smartphones shipped worldwide. Are you ready to reach these people? Following are some graphs relevant to how the public gets information: