The Museum Innovation Model: A Museum Perspective on Innovation

Haitham Eid, Southern University at New Orleans, USA

Published paper: The Museum Innovation Model: A museum perspective on innovation

This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing efforts of the museum sector to build a museum perspective of innovation. More specifically, the paper presents a new framework for innovation in museums called the Museum Innovation Model (MIM). The model emerged as a result of Ph.D. research that included a number of museums in the United States and the United Kingdom. The theoretical framework of the model is based on three concepts—open innovation, social enterprise, and social innovation—each of which, the research observed, are growing trends in the museum sector. The proposed paper offers an overview of each term, with special focus on museums. It also argues that the MIM could be used as 1) a planning tool to carry out innovation or 2) an evaluation tool to scrutinize innovation in museums.

MIM is structured to make innovation in museums scalable, replicable, and feasible to start and operate. Beyond the case studies mentioned in this paper, elements of the model can be found in museums of different sizes, management styles, geographical locations, and collections. This is informed by Nesta’s various projects and Chesbrough’s (2003) and (2014) work around open innovation and open social innovation, as well as Janes’ (2010) discussion about the “mindful museum.”

Finally, the paper concludes by underscoring that the principles of MIM (i.e., open innovation, social enterprise, and social innovation) are interconnected and together can present a formula for innovation in museums. The formula might be expressed simply as: museums that adopt a social enterprise business model and utilize open innovation strategies are capable of achieving social innovation.

Selected References:

Arnold, K. (2013). Interview with Kris Arnold, Web Developer at Dallas Museum of Art . (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Butler, T. (2014). Interview with Tony Butler, Director of the Museum of East Anglian Life, UK. (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Center for Social Innovation. (2013). Center for Social Innovation. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from Stanford Graduate School of Business:
Chan, S. (2013). Interview: Seb Chan, Director of Digital & Emerging Media, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt. Retrieved April 3, 2013, from Museum iD:
Chan, S. (2014). Interview with Seb Chan, Director of Digital & Emerging Media department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum . (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Chesbrough, H., & Minin, A. D. (2014). Social Open Innovation. In H. Chesbrough, W. Vanhaverbeke, & J. West, New Frontiers in Open Innovation (pp. 169-188). Oxford: Oxford University Publications.
Cooper Hewitt Lab. (2013, December 9). "C" is for Chromecast: hacking digital signage. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from Cooper Hewitt Lab:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsoniam Design Museum. (n.d.). Department Descriptions. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsoniam Design Museum:
Cope, A. S. (2014). Interview with Aaron Straup Cope, Didgital and Emerging Media Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Crutchfield, L., & Grant, H. M. (2012). Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits (2nd Edition ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.
Eid, H. (2015, November). The Intersection Between Social Innovation, Museums and Digital. Retrieved January 2016, from Museum Computer Network:
Fleming, D. (2006). Retrieved December 2012, from INTERCOM: International Committee on Management:
Howard, J. (2007, May). Museum boss's pledge on prisoners. Retrieved March 2015, from East Anglian Daily Times.
IWM. (2014). Annual Report and Account 2013-2014. Retrieved April 2015, from IWM:
IWM. (n.d.). About IWM. Retrieved April 2015, from IWM.
IWM. (n.d.). Lives of The First World War. Retrieved April 2015, from Lives of The First World War:
Janes, R. (2015). Interview with Robert Janes, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, Museum Management and Curatorship. (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Janes, R. R. (2010). The Mindful Museum. Museum Management and Curatorship, 325-338.
Janes, R. R. (2013). Museums and the Paradox of Change. New York: Routledge .
Lindegaard, S. (2010). Open Innovation Revolution: Essentials, Roadblocks, and Leadership Skills. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, & Mulgan, G. (2010, March). The Open Book Of Social Innovation. Retrieved March 12, 2013, from Nesta:
Shannon, K. (2013). The Value Proposition: Sionna's Common Sense Path to Investment Success. Toronto: Sionna Investment Mangaers.
The Case for Social Enterprise Alliance. (2012). Retrieved December 2012, from Social Enterprise Alliance:
The Tech Museum. (n.d.). The Tech Awards. Retrieved January 2016, from The Tech Museum:
Walter, M. (2014). Interview with Micah Walter, Digital & Emerging Media Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. (H. Eid, Interviewer)
Weil, S. (2002). Making museums matter. Smithsonian Institution. Curator: The Museum Journal, 44(3), pp 314-318.