the Digital Challenge


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Presentation by Nick Poole CEO of the Collections Trust at the joint CT / Museums Galleries Scotland event 2 March 2010.

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the Digital Challenge

  1. 1. THE DIGITAL CHALLENGE 2 March 2010 Nick Poole CEO Collections Trust
  2. 2. “ Technology may change, people don’t..”
  3. 3. <ul><li>What do you want to do? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are you doing it for? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the best way of doing it with the resources at your disposal? </li></ul><ul><li>Technology for its own sake is worse than no technology at all </li></ul>Going back to first principles...
  4. 4. Digital opportunities
  5. 5. <ul><li>Collections cover everything from physical objects to born-digital and digitised material </li></ul><ul><li>They include knowledge and organisational records which must be managed as an asset </li></ul><ul><li>The skills we need to manage Digital collections? Curatorship, conservation, documentation </li></ul><ul><li>“ Digitisation is acquisition by scanner” </li></ul>1. Collections are no longer just physical
  6. 6. <ul><li>Technology is good at large-scale repetition </li></ul><ul><li>It can provide a low-cost way of reaching a large number of people </li></ul><ul><li>It can’t replace having something useful/interesting to say </li></ul><ul><li>Technology can be the medium, but rarely the message </li></ul><ul><li>Digital marketing should only ever be one part of a well-conceived Marketing Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Your audience are more likely habitual mobile phone users than Internet surfers </li></ul>2. Technology for Marketing
  7. 7. <ul><li>A new generation of Internet services are educating the public in a different kind of social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers are used to having a relationship with the services they use </li></ul><ul><li>They expect the right to have a voice, and if you let them talk to you, it’s likely they’ll also talk about you </li></ul><ul><li>The online environment can be anonymous and hence more welcoming </li></ul><ul><li>If someone comes into your museum and tells you a story about something in your collections, what would you do with it? Would you replace the label? </li></ul>3. Technology for Engagement
  8. 8. <ul><li>Your museum is a Small/Medium Enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>Technology can make a good process more efficient </li></ul><ul><li>It can also make a bad process worse </li></ul><ul><li>Your management records (personnel, finance, meeting minutes) are as much a part of the knowledge of your organisation as the catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>Silos of information are unhealthy </li></ul>4. Technology for Management
  9. 9. <ul><li>How will you ensure that your Digital service is here in 7 years time? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the new models emerging from the Digital environment? </li></ul><ul><li>Freenomics – the principle that when technology enters a market, it reduces costs to the point at which prices tend towards free </li></ul><ul><li>The transactional content industry is struggling </li></ul><ul><li>We aren’t at a scale where content or advertising are real options </li></ul><ul><li>We’re really dependent on downstream, non-economic ROI </li></ul>5. Digital Business Models
  10. 10. <ul><li>Digitisation has been a priority for much of the past 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>A digital asset without a delivery channel is a liability </li></ul><ul><li>Digitising something and putting it on the web does not result in access </li></ul><ul><li>Again, it’s about first principles </li></ul><ul><li>What are you trying to do, who for and what is the best mechanism for reaching them? </li></ul>6. From Digitisation to Digital services
  11. 11. <ul><li>The consumer is not looking for museum websites </li></ul><ul><li>They are, however, looking at consumer sites, price comparison sites, travel planning sites, Government, e-commerce, social networking, online TV-on-demand and Google </li></ul><ul><li>We need to go to where the punter is </li></ul><ul><li>We need to understand that their expectations of quality and usability are forged in online supermarkets and iTunes – this is what your searchable collections database is competing with. </li></ul>7. Working with Consumer behaviour
  12. 12. <ul><li>Many (most) online models only work at scale </li></ul><ul><li>Many (most) cultural institutions don’t have the reach to operate at this scale </li></ul><ul><li>Working together, shared services, collaboration and aggregation are vital </li></ul><ul><li>Working with established media brands and using other organisations’ market share is key </li></ul><ul><li>The aim is to work with the web, not against it </li></ul>7. Working at web scale
  13. 13. <ul><li>Digital isn’t different </li></ul><ul><li>It’s an extension of the same journey we’ve always been on </li></ul><ul><li>The skills we have are the skills we need </li></ul><ul><li>Technology can’t fix a bad idea, but it can give a good one wings </li></ul><ul><li>It’s very, very, very, very hard to make real, direct money with Digital </li></ul><ul><li>It offers the opportunity to create a new, deeper relationship with our users </li></ul>In conclusion