“A museum’s social relevance is increasingly measured by its capacity to address social issues. The sheer scale of societal problems, such as systemic discrimination, social isolation and climate change, however, is daunting and can inhibit a museum’s efforts to contribute to the conversation and propose innovative solutions. In his ground-breaking paper, ‘Small wins: redefining the scale of social problems’, organisational theorist Karl E. Weick argues that reframing social problems as a series of smaller, more manageable challenges, creates conditions for micro-innovations or small wins. This chapter considers the nature and logic of small wins as a means of furthering the social work of museums and applies this lens to consider the impact of projects at the Museum of Vancouver, where I work as curator and director of exhibitions and collections. More specifically, the chapter looks at curatorial and programming strategies aimed at fostering environmental literacy, promoting social justice, and embarking on meaningful collaborations with Indigenous communities. My reflection is inspired by conversations on frugal innovation (achieving more with fewer resources), and social innovation, an umbrella term for thinking and practices that help individuals and organisations deploy effective solutions to challenging social and environment issues in the service of social progress.”
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London, UK: Routledge.
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