Topic: Proactive and reactive

Question: Do you see a Biological Collections Action Center as primarily responding to expressed needs from the collections community regarding processes of collections management, or as providing leadership in moving the collections community toward new domains of research, innovation, and impact?

Overall, I think a Biological Collections Action Center will need to do both, as good ideas or important needs may arise in both top-down and bottom-up ways. But I also believe that a Biological Collections Action Center should take more of a leadership role in moving the community forward, although the organization should lean heavily on the shared expertise of the community by facilitating rather than directing action. I think there is great potential across museum science for pioneering innovative and impactful approaches and technologies in several areas, including digitizing biodiversity in various ways (e.g., genomics and diceCT). I fear that if our community is not more proactive in this way, other scientific bodies or interest groups (e.g., medical schools or even VC-funded startups) will step into the void. Not that having these groups involved is a bad thing, but I think we are the most logical stakeholder for taking a leading role for various reasons.