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INTERCOM: International Committee on Management

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About the scenarios - Introduction by David Fleming (extract)

Imaginary case studies, or ‘scenarios’, are a familiar device in management training. They can be a powerful and rewarding technique for encouraging us to think about the issues and problems which challenge us in our work. Stephen Weil, the great American museum thinker and writer who died in 2005, used this technique in his teaching. He called them “warm-up exercises”.

INTERCOM have published six scenarios, courtesy of a special grant from ICOM, in printed form, but they are also available free to download from the INTERCOM website. I hope they will be of use to museum professionals around the world, and I hope that INTERCOM is able to create and publish more scenarios in future. The scenarios are intended to create a forum for open discussion among museum professionals at all levels in museums and academic training workshops.

Dr David Fleming OBE
President of INTERCOM and Director of National Museums Liverpool (UK)

The Scenarios

These managment scenarios are designed to create a forum of open discussion among museum professional at all levels and those in academic training and develop management and leadership skills in museums.

They are based on issues common to museums around the world and pose questions about what to do in particular situations, including issues around good governance, ethics, how to deal with press and media, cultural property, social responsibility through to how to manage the museum’s external environment.

The idea is that these scenarios make you think outside your immediate daily environment and encourage open discussion among museum professionals at all levels. Workshops using the scenario method can be run for people working in the same organisation; between museum professionals from different museums or in academic training workshops.

Using this type of approach is a particularly valuable exercise to share real-life experiences within a group environment as it creates an open basis for debate in which everyone’s input is equally valuable.

Click on the title of the scenario to download a PDF version.


Key themes

Introduction and Cover


Flogging a dead horse

By David Fleming

External Environment

Press and Media


Great Gerbils & Humans, a story for a proposed museum

By Clem Fisher

Collections Management


Project Management

Science: Built in scepticism, intelligent design and the Universal Museum

By Des Griffin



Lila Begay’s bequest

By Hilde Hein

Collections Management

Cultural Property


Chalky’s Find

By Yvette Staelens

Cultural Property

Social Responsibility

External Environment


The Museum of Ideas

By David Fleming

Museum development


External environment

The Soul of a New Museum

Hilde Hein


Tell us what you think! If you have tried out one of the scenarios, we would welcome your feedback on using this method. We would like to add more case studies over time and your input is invaluable to making this material as relevant and useful as possible.

Please send your comments to intercom@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk