Interview with the Europeana Food and Drink Open Innovation Challenge winner project: CLIO MUSE
– by Anna Brejwo Lobianco
The first Europeana Food and Drink Open Innovation Challenge competition was directed to representatives of creative industries presenting ideas and solutions for innovative methods for the re-use of food and drink related digital heritage content.
On 30th January 2015 the finalists of the competition have been announced and awarded in the Open Innovaiton Challange Award Event taking place in Rome. Among them, the winner project CLIO MUSE (project leader: Daphne Tsevreni, Greece), which received the first prize in the category of “professional winner”.
1. First of all, congratulations again on your achievements and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. To start off, could you please tell us something about yourself?
Thank you for this opportunity! Our team was formed during a Startup Weekend event in the co-working space of Colab Athens, Greece. We were complete strangers but we shared a common vision: we wanted to bring people back inside museums. Thus, a business graduate, a conservator of antiquities and works of art and an electrical engineer combined forces. We believe that this diversity we have as a team and our different academic backgrounds helped us form a more complete and spherical opinion on how a culture application should be built. Thus, Clio Muse (www.cliomuseapp.com) was born!
Clio Muse is the absolute mobile (iOS and Android) application which shares the best stories for art and culture. The stories are unique, true, exciting and talk about selected exhibits from all over the world. All stories are timed so you can be in control of your visit!
For users Clio Muse works as a free tour guide app during their visit in the exhibition area and as a social e-magazine with interesting stories before and after their visit. Users can vote for their favourite stories, share or add them to their favourites.
For cultural institutions Clio Muse works as a marketing and audience development tool, since all exhibitions from every cultural institution integrate in one platform where all audiences of all exhibition areas combine. Moreover, it works as an evaluation tool through the anonymous statistics resulting from visitors’ interaction with the exhibits. This way, cultural institutions can organise activities and engage with their visitors through updating their stories.
In our first year of operation, we have launched 8 exhibitions in Greece and the U.S.A.
You can download our app for iOS and Android here: http://bit.ly/cliomuse
2. How did you learn about the Open Innovation Challenge and what inspired you to participate?
Although we follow Europeana through its facebook page and its official sites for the multiple sides of history and art, we discovered this very Challenge thanks to the two-day session “eCult Winter Stage Athens” which took place in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. (http://www.ecultobservatory.eu/events/ecult-winter-stage-athens-greece)
3. Could you shortly introduce the application which led you directly to the winnings? Where did you get the idea from?
As a team, we are constantly trying to create sustainable projects or give the right motivation to sponsors in order to support the creation and integration of a cultural institution’s collection in Clio Muse application.
Therefore, it came naturally to us that we could create digital thematic exhibitions that are food and drink oriented and include exhibits from Europeana that have food and drink related subjects or have elements connected to food and drink and are located in multiple museums/cultural institutions around the world. The innovative part of those exhibitions is that for those exhibits we will create short, unique, interesting and true stories about food and drinks and show the relation between the exhibits in terms of food and drink, and to the theme of the exhibition of course. The stories could be fun facts, historical unknown-to-the-wide audience information and also recipes of certain historical periods. Those digital exhibitions will be then incorporated in Clio Muse app and will be structured as such.
So, the exhibitions will have a certain subject connected to food and drink, they will include exhibits that show or relate to food and drink and each exhibit will have multiple stories to tell about the subject selected.
This project aims to disseminate the knowledge of Europeana connected to food and drink to the wide audience through technology. Clio Muse app connects all cultural institutions with their visitors. Thus, users will be able to learn more about art, food and drink through the ages via Europeana.
What we like most about this project is that the Europeana exhibitions will become part of a multiple exhibition network through a common storytelling methodology that our app uses.
4. This competition was built around the re-use of digital content about food and drink. What do you think are the difficulties in finding the appropriate and enough content that would fit into your idea?
Clio Muse creates cultural content for the exhibits based on valid international bibliography. So, for us, the Europeana search engine is a magical tool! It helps to find very quickly related exhibits or content for the stories we create!
Having used the Europeana search engine, we can’t help noticing two difficulties, though:
The items’ licensing from some cultural institutions isn’t always very flexible, as well as the absence of more sources or informative texts for some of the items.
However, the first steps to solve the above have already been taken. Mrs. Jill Cousins, executive director of the Europeana Foundation, was present at the Sapienza University award ceremony and bravely enough she was asking for feedback from the creative industries. As we see it, this is the only right way to improve a platform: asking your users for feedback. Therefore, we are very confident that sooner or later, the above mentioned difficulties will be dealt with.
5. What was the biggest challenge, when entering the competition and what did you learn by facing it?
The greatest challenge for us was to combine art with food and drink. Writing unexpected and unique stories for works of art is something we enjoy very much, combining with food and drink, though, was something else… However, we like to surprise our users and bring them closer to art, history and culture, so we thought it was really worth it!
Another challenge was how to get the food and drink industry to financially support this project. We worked on our business plan, however, and managed to find a way. The result is that we learned how to successfully promote our content to the food and drink industry.
6. How do you plan to follow-up this project? Do you plan to incubate the idea and involve further partners like cultural institutions or food and drink sector?
We have already started negotiating with food companies in Greece and Italy in order to create exhibitions and outdoor cultural tours concerning food and drink. We believe that by the end of summer we will have announced these partnerships.
7. How do you think cultural sector or food and drink industries can profit from co-creating or applications like yours?
We believe that creating a vice-versa relationship between cultural institutions and food companies can help the development of both parts. The cultural institutions will be financially supported to create and promote very important content, while food companies will have the possibility to improve their branding by combining the uniqueness of their products with history and art.