In Greek mythology Clio was the muse of history and poetry. Her name derives from the word κλέω which means to narrate or make known. Very similar-sounding Greek words κλέος (glory) and κλεις (key) are also tightly connected to Clio and history, since the Ancient Greeks believed that the act of writing down glorious feats of the past is the key to collect useful knowledge for the future. The purpose of the Clio Muse app is to bring people back to museums, and as the muse did, to narrate the history behind each one of them. Meet the team behind this award winning app.

1/How did you come up with the idea of creating the Clio Muse app?

Clio Muse was born during Athens Startup Weekend Next seminar, when Andreas Fatouros, a conservator of antiquities and works of art, pitched his idea of a global cultural platform. Andreas joined forces with Daphne Tsevreni, an Athens University of Economics and Business graduate, and Yiannis Nikolopoulos, an Electrical and Computer Enginner from Patras, thus the journey began.

Unlike other teams, we didn't have a clear idea of what we had to build. In fact we didn't even know whether it had to be an app, a website or even a book or a map. The only thing we did know was that people didn't understand much of what they were seeing inside a museum. Many would feel tired and leave without having learned much. 

We had a very specific vision in mind: we wanted to bring people back to culture, let them discover the magnificent stories hidden behind complicated and vague museum labels. We ended up printing questionnaires and interviewing museum and gallery visitors as well as their directors and marketing departments in Greece and abroad. Our methodology of presenting cultural stories and our specifications resulted from this very research. Clio Muse is innovative in its sector being a tour guide app built by its audience.

During this customer development phase we found our first client. The Athens City Museum - Vouros-Eutaxias Foundation allowed us to experiment with their exhibits, space and audience. We successfully launched our pilot version in February 2014 and soon more museums wanted to take part in this experiment. Before long, Clio Muse was also receiving requests from tour operators and NPOs organising city walks and wanting to deliver their content through our innovative methodology.

Eventually, Clio Muse took its current form - an award winning mobile application that curates the best cultural stories for indoor/outdoor exhibitions and city walks. From historical facts to recipes, all stories are concisely presented in 20 seconds.

2/ What were the criteria for choosing the museums and tours?

We believe our users have all the answers, therefore the museums and tours we have launched so far are based on users' preferences. You can explore all our available tours here

3/ Did the technology (r)evolution made our lives easier or more complex?

Technology is a tool in our hands. It certainly makes our lives easier. Yet today things that can be done very easily or quickly are invading our everyday life. In the past we would have normally omitted them, but now due to the technology evolution they require very little effort, so we give them our time. However, more and more of these little tasks easily add up and if we don't sort our priorities wisely, we end up being lost in a labyrinth of minor tasks and missing the full picture in life.

4/ Tell us about your app in the deeper future.

Our goal is to host all exhibitions of every kind, globally in Clio Muse and let people discover culture through the true and exciting stories that lie beneath complex labels. During our research people admitted that they sometimes felt intimidated and scared to enter a museum or gallery because they didn't understand what they were looking at. We hope Clio Muse will be what changes this all.

5/ What 'deeper future message' would you send to young people?

Humans have the ability to dream up something that looks impossible and turn it into reality, like traveling to the deepest seas or to the outer space; building skyscrapers or super computers. We are gifted with such intelligence that we can build anything as long as we work in a team where each person respects one another. However, we must always keep in mind the full picture and make sure our inventions are designed to improve and sustain life.

Interview by Chrysanthi Vazitari