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Appeal for Feedback on a Vision of ICOM's improved Future

ICOM Reform Task Force (ICOM-RTF)

by Bernice Murphy, Vice-President of ICOM

February 2000



Task Force needs urgent input from its Advisory Committee and members. This notice is an appeal for feedback through Committee Chairpersons and the wider membership of ICOM on five STRATEGIC SCENARIOS FOR AN IMPROVED ICOM.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The Task Force requested by the October 1998 ICOM General Assembly and June 1999 ICOM Advisory Committee meetings to carry out an organisational review and recommended restructuring of ICOM - known by the abbreviated title "ICOM-RTF" - has been addressing this work since mid-1999.

The ICOM-RTF Task Force was effectively constituted in June 1999 (supported by formal nominations of membership through the National and International Committee discussions of the Advisory Committee meetings convened in Paris). At this time I was also asked to co-ordinate the Task Force's work henceforth, on behalf of the Executive Council.

The Task Force has held two meetings to pursue its mandate since June 1999: the first in October 1999, in Paris; the second in December 1999 in Madrid (when the Task Force also conducted a Workshop with the Executive Council, in order to establish a jointly developed statement of ICOM's mission and core values, to guide the processes of review being undertaken).

A further important process was carried out by the Task Force itself in Madrid over two days: a committed exercise in strategic thinking and scenario development, through which a number of Scenarios about ICOM's desired future were projected and developed. These Strategic Scenarios were informed directly by the Mission and Values Statement developed with the Executive Council (in December). They built upon varied kinds of input and opinion gathered by the Task Force up to that point.

The present form of the Strategic Scenarios we have developed deserve a few words of explanation. They are actually still DRAFT statements - open to improvement as we progress. However we are urgently seeking reactions now to these DRAFTS from the Advisory Committee - through the respective Chairpersons or Presidents of Committees and their networks, whom we look to both for first-stage reactions quickly, and for further discussion during the Advisory meetings in June 2000 in Paris. There is also an avenue through which we are constantly gaining reactions more broadly and spontaneously - through the ICOM-L Internet discussion channel, mentioned below.

EXPLAINING WHY OUR BROAD APPROACH TO THE FUTURE COMES FIRST

For any process of organisational change to gain some real focus and momentum, it is necessary to move decisively beyond the stage of current symptoms description and defect analysis (where the sense of a need for reform is first registered). It is important to step outside the framework of the immediate present and take an imaginative address to the desired shape of the organisation's future some years onward. (We took five years onward as our projection-standard, imagining an improved ICOM by 2005.)

Only through such expansion of horizons and a broad "envisioning exercise" can a co-ordination of specific data and cohesive shaping of different options begin to occur. After this has been accomplished, it is important to return to the conditions of the present, with a clearer idea of what kinds of interconnected change need to be brought about. ICOM needs a purposive and integrated vision of its future - one that goes way beyond a scattered list of desired modifications to the status quo.

I make these few remarks to indicate our sense of what we needed to do early on, and how we have come to produce the documents we now forward to you. We convey the documents with a strong request that you take these materials out into wider discussion with your colleagues and give us your feedback by fax or email (or even mail) by MARCH 17 2000. Ideally we would like reactions by email to the Secretariat. However various channels are open.

FOUR WAYS TO RESPOND TO THIS APPEAL:

1. ICOM's main e-mail address is <secretariat@icom.org>: (Please title any corrrespondence, beginning with the identification: ICOM-RTF.)
2. ICOM's fax number in Paris is: [33-1] 4306 7862
3. Alternatively more informal contributions are welcome through the ICOM-L Internet-facilitated discussion list (accessible directly to any member who has e-mail): http://home.ease.lsoft.com/archives/icom-l.html
4. Mailing to Paris is also welcome, if the other means above are not available: ICOM-RTF, C/- ICOM Secretariat, Maison de l'UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris cedex 15, France

ICOM-L DISCUSSION LIST

There has been a very valuable discussion opened up on the ICOM review process and its desiderata through ICOM's Internet discussion facility, ICOM-L (see any ICOM News for details to assist you to catch up with this).

Some vital, spirited and open exchanges have taken place. These exchanges have clearly revealed how such a new electronic forum as this can greatly increase debate and the wider engagement of all parts of ICOM's social body (its members and affiliates, as well as its Chairpersons). The ICOM-L discussions over recent months, to which the Task Force has been listening attentively, well demonstrate the potential of electronic media to activate participation and debate in ICOM, in ways that were never possible previously.

WHAT ARE WE ASKING OF YOU NOW?

Please read, circulate and achieve discussion/feedback through your committees on the documents sent to you now:

(1) the Values Statement;
(2) the Mission Statement;
(3) the Strategic Scenarios and success indicators for ICOM's future, developed recently by the Task Force for your consideration.

Please note once more that these documents are all still DRAFTS, open to discussion and revision:

(a) following your feedback on March 17, 2000 at the latest, and
(b) after the Advisory and Executive Council meetings in June 2000.

PLEASE READ OUR FIVE STRATEGIC SCENARIOS FOR A TRANSFORMED ICOM, AND CONSIDER THE ACCOMPANYING SUCCESS INDICATORS LISTED (Statements A.1 through to E.6 below).

You will see that our five suggested Strategic Scenarios already contain draft Action Plans (implicitly or explicitly). And they start to foreshadow some likely Recommendations for change in ICOM's structure, focus and functioning that will emerge from the processes we have embarked upon.
(Specific Recommendations will be clarified later, informed by the input we need from you and the wider membership of ICOM.)

IN SUMMARY

You do NOT need to comment on every statement (A.1...to...E.6) below.
More important (and this is my final request): Please would you kindly focus on the following four-part breakdown of issues to assist us urgently with our further work.

WE ASK FOUR KEY QUESTIONS RIGHT NOW:

(I) What responses do you think important to feed back to us on the proposals or process we have shaped to date (any general comments)?

(II) In particular, if you are involved in or responsible for a Committee of ICOM, how would the proposed changes we have shaped affect:

a. the interests of members of your committee?
b. the work of your committee as a whole?

(III) What are the resource implications of the changes foreshadowed:

a. financial resources?
b. human resources?

(IV) What do you perceive as missing from our proposals to date?

PLEASE RETURN YOUR FEEDBACK TO ICOM-RTF (address/fax etc.above) by MARCH 17, 2000. IF POSSIBLE, e-mail response would be the most ideal way for Committee Chairpersons to reach us: .

WE NEED THIS FEEDBACK TO SHAPE DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE SESSIONS, JUNE 2000.
Thank you to all who have contributed their time, support and views to assist our processes so far. The commitment of opinion, debate, and detailed suggestions by many people beyond our immediate group (especially via ICOM-L) has been vigorous and encouraging. It is much appreciated.

Bernice Murphy
(ICOM Vice-President & Co-ordinator, ICOM-RTF Task Force for ICOM Review)

Documents for consideration appearing below:

A. ICOM VALUES STATEMENT
B. DRAFT MISSION STATEMENT FOR ICOM
C. FIVE STRATEGIC SCENARIOS FOR ICOM'S FUTURE

A. ICOM VALUES STATEMENT [DRAFT#1, Dec.1999]*
ICOM's CORE VALUES ARE: - museum and cultural heritage ethics and standards - respect for diversity - mutual assistance - ICOM's network of professional expertise - sustainable development in different social contexts.

B. ICOM MISSION STATEMENT [DRAFT#1, Dec.1999] These interconnected statements express the mission of ICOM: ICOM'S MISSION ICOM is the international organization of museums* and museum professionals* committed to the protection and communication of the world's cultural heritage*. ICOM defines international ethical standards for museums, and promotes professional practices and mutual assistance through its world-wide networks of expertise. As a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, ICOM advocates sustainable development* and respect for the world's cultural diversity. *[ all terms asterisked need further definition]

C. ICOM-RTF STRATEGIC SCENARIOS AND SUCCESS INDICATORS (ICOM five years from now] Draft revisions 1 - December 21/27, 1999

Scenario A. ICOM IS THE RESPECTED LEADER IN THE MUSEUM FIELD INTERNATIONALLY AND AN ACTIVE WORLD PARTICIPANT IN THE CULTURAL HERITAGE SECTOR. Scenario A requires these results (success indicators) by five years from now:

A.1 ICOM is visible and recognized in the print and electronic media as a leader in the international museum and cultural heritage sectors. Its opinion is sought and recorded.
A.2 ICOM is recognized by its significant partners and stakeholders, who consult it regularly regarding world-wide museum and cultural heritage issues.
A.3 ICOM has put into practice its three-year Action Plan that identifies its major platforms and partners (e.g. European Union, UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM) and the means for ensuring that ICOM is an active contributor to crucial debates.
A.4 Based on its three-year Action Plan, ICOM has anticipated the key issues for museums and cultural heritage bodies, and initiated appropriate and effective position papers.
A.5 Both members of ICOM and the leaders in the cultural heritage sector report that ICOM is prepared to discuss issues in a proactive way.
A.6 Through its issues-identifiction, research and database, ICOM has enabled National Committees to brief national governments on issues that are international (e.g. UNIDROIT).
A.7 ICOM is identified by its members and partners as a leader in bringing forward and following through on sensitive positions concerning. difficult issues (e.g. Illicit traffic).
A.8 The skills required to take a leadership position for museums and cultural heritage are present in ICOM through its President, Executive Council, Advisory Committee, Secretary-General and Secretariat.
A.9 The National Committees have recognized and acted upon their expanded role and responsibilities as a resource base and database for ICOM.

Scenario B. BASED ON ITS CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND NETWORKS OF EXPERTISE, ICOM HAS ADVANCED THE SHARING OF PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE. Scenario B requires these results (success indicators) by five years from now:

B.1 ICOM's International Committees and where appropriate, Affiliated Organizations, are recognized by ICOM and the museum sector as the primary resources for matters concerning professional knowledge and practice.
B.2 Working with the applicable International Committees, Regional Organizations and where appropriate, Affiliated Organizations, ICOM has developed and delivered regional programs that introduce professional practices based on the Code of Professional Ethics.
B.3 In addition to their own priorities, International Committees have identified key topics in their areas of professional knowledge and practice that are directly relevant to ICOM's vision. These have been supported through case studies that are available to ICOM members through the Documentation Centre, publications, and ICOM's Web site.
B.4 ICOM has mechanisms in place that facilitate the sharing of expertise (e.g. a model or workbook on the development of AFRICOM and ICOM Arab) through developmental programs that identify training methodology and definition of standards.
B.5 The ICOM Code of Professional Ethics has been reviewed and revised, as required.
B.6 ICOM and its International Committees are collaborating with national museum associations in delivering training and professional capacity building.

Scenario C. ICOM PROVIDES A SUPPLE AND CONSISTENT FRAMEWORK FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND ADVOCACY. Scenario C requires these results (success indicators) by five years from now:

C.1 ICOM has identified the key issues affecting the museum sector, and pursued the means to publicly advocate and communicate ICOM's values, policies and knowledge concerning these issues through: a) its constituent bodies b) the appropriate communications vehicles.
C.2. ICOM has in place the means and the trained staff to increase its effective use of electronic and other media.
C.3 ICOM has advanced its commitment to electronic networking at all levels, thereby ensuring ready communications and fluent responses.
C.4 ICOM provides electronic fora for discussion amongst its members; these also function as educational, training, and capacity building tools.
C.5 ICOM has implemented an effective and proactive Communications policy, which seeks to support world-wide equity and varied attention to museum and cultural heritage issues.
C.6 ICOM has broadened the distribution of its communications through its partners and commercial networks and agencies.
C.7 The ICOM Web site receives an international 'best site' award for effective design and communication.

Scenario D. MEMBERS EXPERIENCE ICOM AS PROACTIVE FLEXIBLE, EFFICIENT AND INNOVATIVE. Scenario D requires these results (success indicators) by five years from now:

D.1 ICOM's governance and operational structure have been redefined to ensure that it is responsive, flexible and efficient. The organizational structure is defined as a circle, which incorporates the National and International Committees, the President and the Executive Council, and the Secretary-General and Secretariat.
D.2 ICOM has core policies on Communications, Publications, Internet, and Membership.
D.3 There has been an increase of 25% in the number of members who have joined ICOM's International Committees.
D.4 There is evidence that members are committed to the concept, and act upon the opportunities that ICOM provides, to contribute to the museum sector world-wide, as well as to receive personal/professional benefits.
D.5 ICOM itself, and its National and International Committees, have developed and implemented programs that are inter-committee, inter-regional and inter-disciplinary.
D.6 Over 75% of the respondents to a survey of members identify ICOM News as providing them with timely information on ICOM itself and its future activities and programs.
D.7 ICOM-L and specialized Web discussion groups are actively used.
D.8 The International Committees and Affiliated Organizations are actively positioned as 'Standing Committees' of ICOM; they define issues and provide a pool of expertise that ensures on-going participation by a diversity of specialists.
D.9 ICOM is identified as a facilitator for the exchange of expertise internationally (e.g. similar to the Museum Security Network).

Scenario E . ICOM MEMBERS FEEL THAT THEY ARE PART OF A LIVING ORGANISATION, THAT THEY ARE CONSULTED AND THEY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Scenario E requires these results (success indicators) by five years from now:

E.1 ICOM operates as an active resource base that facilitates the exchange of expertise amongst the Committees, regions, individual members and the Secretariat.
E2 ICOM has developed an up-to-date database on museums that is available electronically.
E.3 ICOM has identified contact individuals in particular museums (following the example of the Dutch Museums Association) who are cited in the ICOM on-line database and offer expertise.
E.4 Models for co-operative programs have been developed and circulated for adoption, both nationally and internationally.
E.5 ICOM has been overwhelmed by the positive response to a query on its membership application/renewal form asking what expertise each member can offer. These offers have been translated into the core of the Museum Resources Database.
E.6 Key ICOM individuals, such as the President, Chair of the Advisory Committee, Executive Council members and the Secretary-General are present and visible at important museum and cultural sectors meetings, as well as at ICOM Committee meetings held in various part of the world.

 


 

 
 
   
Updated: 15 June 2005