Back in 2015 MIT in their report Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation, focus on the importance of becoming digitally mature, seeing this as the difference between being focused on integrating digital technologies in the service of transforming how your business works and simply focusing on individual technologies that are decidedly operational in focus.
In the business sector, digital transformation is not a new story, we have all seen the wholescale reframing and redesigning of key industries such as banking, retail, TV, news etc and much of this has dramatically changed the way people consume culture, introducing new pattern of behaviour, distribution, formats and income streams. But this change has not been mirrored inside the non-commercial organisations that produce, create, hold, collect, exhibit and archive our culture (past and present) and this is a problem if those organisations want to be ready for the 21st century.
Globally there are a few bold museums, theaters, galleries and heritage sites who are working hard to embed and integrate digital fully across all elements of their work. Leeds 2023 are one of those. Their digital roadmap describes being digital as being about “How you think, how you behave, what you value, and what drives decisions in your organisation”. They draw on the definition of digital by Tom Loosemore from Public Digital that is “Applying the culture, processes, business models and technologies of the internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations”.
This approach goes much deeper that the way most cultural organisations currently work and challenges their whole approach to creating new experiences, developing audiences and engagement and ensuring operational excellence behind the scenes.
The approach of Leeds2023 is not yet the norm in the cultural sector but it will need to be if they are to both survive and thrive beyond the current pandemic. In England, our cultural funders have finally caught up with this agenda and both National Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England talk about the importance of digital maturity, skills and capabilities in those they fund.
At Counterculture, our team understand this challenge and we can help your cultural organisation to not just develop a strong digital offer that is able to serve your organisation’s vision and mission, but also help you open up opportunities across all aspects of your cultural activity – programming, partnerships, e-commerce, online learning, virtual events, community building, fundraising and outreach. We can help you to take advantage of the opportunities digital brings but are also mindful of the many challenges and barriers.
If you are interested in talking to us about how to step up and embrace the challenges that digital transformation can bring and develop more sophisticated digital thinking contact Jane Finnis Service Head – Digital – strategic leadership, skills and implementation