Imagineering

Mike has poineered the concept of the ‘Information Chain Value’.

Imagineering

Mike has developed many innovative insights and practical solutions during his work in different fields. He has, for instance, proposed the concept of the Information Value Chain to explain the role of modern interactive science centres and museums in society. Science centres, as well as museums, libraries and archives, no longer hold the monopoly on providing information to the public. Many people now have access to the internet and information is readily available to them. The task of science centres and museums has become more challenging – they must provide information that has been analysed, digested and made useful to people in the context of their everyday lives.

He has proposed that the role of science centres is now to take people down the ‘Information Value Chain’, as follows:

Information Value Chain

Information Chain

Their role is therefore to contextualize information so that it is useful and becomes knowledge. They then need to make that knowledge relevant to people’s everyday lives so that they can make good decisions (wisdom). Having made good decisions based on their new knowledge, they are then in a position to change their mind-sets and behaviour. The final step, then, is to encourage others to change their mind-sets and behaviour on the basis of their newly acquired knowledge and wisdom.

The ‘Information Value Chain’ approach sets the bar much higher as far as the goals of a science centre or museum are concerned. It basically proposes that, if we have not changed people’s mind-set and behaviour, then we have not achieved our goal.

This approach also has relevance in the broader context outside the world of science centres. Many modern-day thinkers have proposed that we are no longer in the Information Age but have progressed as follows:


Information Age → Knowledge Age → Age of Wisdom

Also, scientists planning research projects have concluded that the incremental provision of more information on a given topic is not enough. That information must be transformed into knowledge that is useful and can be used for strategic planning and policy-making that improves the quality of lives of people and the other inhabitants of the planet (wisdom). The implementation of policies based on that wisdom will then cause people to change their mind-set and behaviour.

Science centres therefore need to advance beyond the Information Age into the Age of Wisdom. This approach also matches other modern trends in science centre and museum development, such as becoming more campaign-orientated and more deeply involved in the issues that are impacting on society.