A Tactical Approach to Delivering a Digital Strategy


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This presentation outlines the importance and impact of developing, delivering and sustaining a digital strategy within a cultural organisation. It uses recent experiences at the National Gallery, London, UK, and the Imperial War Museums, UK, to demonstrate why having a strategy is so fundamental to the long-term success of digital development, and how it can be used as a driver to shape direction for a strategic programme of work that is aligned with organisational needs and priorities.

Read more: Navigating The Bumpy Road: A Tactical Approach To Delivering A Digital Strategy | bit.ly/HqzUfk

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  • I just wanted to start off by saying that we both think that having a ‘strategy’ is an essential ingredient to being able to deliver any kind of integrated programme.We also feel strongly that having a ‘digital’ strategy as part of a wider programme of public engagement is a fundamental building block to success.
  • Before we talk more about our process of strategy development - it’s going to be useful to set some context about our individual institutions, their remit and internal culture and more broadly why we came together to write this paper.Carolyn will tell you a bit more about the Imperial War museum
  • The Imperial War Museum was founded in 1917 while the first world war was still going on - and is the world’s leading authority on conflict and its impact, focusing on Britain, its former Empire and Commonwealth. Right up to the present day.It has 5 sites – 3 located in London, 1 near Cambridge, and one in the North of England.As you will see they are all ‘very’ different… This is our flagship branch in London.
  • This is the Churchill War Rooms – which is a bunker under the treasury - where Churchill basically planned the successful war campaign.It is a time capsule, left untouched, with Churchill's famous trademark cigar still sitting in the ashtray.
  • In contrast – HMS Belfast – one of the last surviving ships to take part in D Day - is moored on the River Thames, in the heart of London.
  • But we aren’t just located in London, but have spread out to the North of England, with the Liebskind design Imperial War Museum North, that has been opened for ten years. It specializes in the impact of war on the lives of the people living in the North.
  • And finally, IWM Duxford, near Cambridge – this is the largest aviation museum in Europe. It’s a working airfield and a heritage site with RAF bases dating back to the first world war.
  • Our collection is vast and diverse. And contains…The Oldest film archive in the UKThe Second largest sound archive after the BBCOver 11 million photographsThe Second largest contemporary art collection in the UK after TateMillions of documents, diaries, papersOver 140,000 large objectsCharlotte will tell you a bit more about the National Gallery.
  • In contrast – The National Gallery is a single unified building right in the heart of London, in Trafalgar Sq.It’s the third MOST visited attraction in the UK – with over 5 million visitors each year.Founded in 1826 it houses the Nations collection of Old Master paintings
  • Unlike the IWM our collection is small and beautifully formed – with just 2500 works, it manages to tell the story of Western European Art from 13th – 19th Century.And here is 1 of the 5 million visitors enjoying the tranquility of the gallery.
  • The Collection contains some of the worlds most iconic works or art – including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, to Leonardo di Vinci’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ – a recent centre pieces to our blockbuster Leonardo exhibition earlier this year.
  • And so – YES we are clearly different organisations, from our locations, size and type of collection BUT what brings us together is that we share the same philosophical view about the role of digital within a cultural organisation, that in order to capitalise on its ability to engage audiences to the fullest requires it to be positioned at the heart of the organisation’s thinking - and aligned with a shared strategic vision.I’m going to hand over to Carolyn who will explain WHY digital should be central…
  • When I started at the museum exactly 3 years ago my remit was initially restricted to the web – but very quickly it became evident that digital activity was becoming intrinsic to the wider public programme . So today my department is responsible for the deliver of ALL public facing digital activity that include everything from the web to in-gallery multimedia, mobile, digital publishing and digital learning. This is becoming a similar scenario for Charlotte at the Gallery…Click - This is a great diagram( (by ConxaRoda) showing the complexity of the museum digital landscape and the interdependencies that it encompasses. It’s too detailed to go through here – but it it does highlight for me the need to puta strategic framework around our digital activity to ensure that our digital development could be done in a planned, prioritied and effective way that was aligned to the wider public programme. So basically we were no longer carrying our digital development within a silo. BUT (and Charlotte would agree with me here) that to get to this place need careful planning to ensure we brought our organisations along with us on this journey. And the way we approached this was through collaborative working with our colleagues, which Charlotte will tell you more about…You can see from this diagram that digital impacts every aspect of the public facing activity of the organisationIt requires resource, coordinated planning and commitmentIt’s a powerful form of public engagement, and must be part of a wider public programmeThis screen shouldn’t come as any surprise to the people in this room – but to the other people working in our organisations who are working or thinking about digital, this is a big leap conceptually. Taking others with us on the journey was essential as was creating the space to talk about digital in new ways..Aside: We differ from Rob Stein’s position at this point about blowing up your beautifully crafted strategic documents as we both felt it was essential to identify and position digital as a key channel and not an after thought by drafting our own digital engagement strategies – but these documents are really just a rallying call and statement of intent. They say ‘this stuff is important’ to the future success of the organization to the organization…and provide a road map to delivering a digitally rich future.
  • Interestingly both Carolyn and I followed a very similar path in the way we went about developing our strategies.The goal was to develop a shared understanding through dialogue and we ran a series of facilitated consultation workshops run in a democratic way which specifically included ‘all’ staff from across the organisations – from the Directors through to Visitor Services.We found this worked brilliantly – and not only gave us great creative input but it also generated real energy and enthusiasm for the potential of digital for the organisations.
  • However, it’s not only about engaging staff in the consultation but it’s also critical that the final document is approved and supported by the Senior management team and trustees to provide a mandate to implement the strategy and move foreword.This was a relatively easy process for the IWM, but perhaps more challenging at the NG given that this work overlapped with a wider strategic framework development for the Gallery as whole, which was running in parallel.What wassurprising and interesting for me personally was the response of the Trustees- I don’t often have an opportunity to present to them so it was a really pleasant surprise to find that as a board- encompassing entrepreneurs and savvy commercial people - they areincredibly digitally literate, very enthusiastic are already engaging in digital in quiet sophisticated ways within their own sectors. They were really challenging me to be bold and in hindsight I felt it would have been really valuable to have been able to include them more in the develop of the strategy at an earlier stage when they could have used their expertise to input. When I come to refine the strategy I will aim to include them in its refinement… So we’ve talked a lot about the development of the strategy – but it’s just a road map and the important thing is what will it enable you to deliver and Carolyn will tell you a bit more about this.
  • As part of both our strategies it was really important that we identified some priority projects that we could begin work on straight way. And that these projects were identified as corporate priorities for our organisations.For the National Gallery the Trustees signed off three areas of development:A media channel – just was just soft launched yesterdayA mobile optimised website and an revamp of in-gallery interpretationFor IWM – was the redevelopment of a new website, which launched in Now 2011, and an upgrade of in-gallery multimedia across our 5 sites.The importance of delivering these projects on time and to budget – can NOT be underestimated.It enables us to build confidence in our ability to deliver to our strategy and show our organisation and our public that we are moving forward in this area.Another challenge is keeping the strategy alive and the digital agenda high.
  • We continue to keep our strategies relevant, not just through digital delivery, but also continuously working with staff in various ways to help embed a change programme and culture.At IWM…
  • I think the most important thing to stress is that this is a continuous process. A strategy is a living thing NOT simply a document to be filed way.For us we talk about it as being the digital aspect of our public engagement strategy – NOT something separateTo ensure success it should continue to evolve as part of a never ending processes of review and evaluation.It requires ongoing support from the senior management team in order to challenge established ways of working and to better support staff who are driving organisational change through digital projects.And just as a last word…
  • A Tactical Approach to Delivering a Digital Strategy

    1. 1. Navigating the Bumpy Road:A Tactical Approach to Delivering a Digital Strategy Charlotte Sexton, The National Gallery, London Carolyn Royston, Imperial War Museums, UK
    2. 2. Setting the context…
    3. 3. IWM Collection• Oldest film archive in the UK• Second largest sound archive after the BBC• Over 11 million photographs• Second largest contemporary art collection in the UK after Tate• Millions of documents, diaries, papers• 140,000 large objects
    4. 4. Yes we are different but…
    5. 5. Why should digital be central toorganisational planning?
    6. 6. Developing the strategy… AdultLearning Scientific Officer Head of Comms Collections Curator of And Dutch Marketing paintings Director Visitor Service s
    7. 7. Manage the management © IWM NAM 237
    8. 8. How to move from theory to practice?
    9. 9. It’s a long haul – how to keep thestrategy alive• Keep involving staff in digital activity – e.g. o Analytics group of stakeholders o Digital content editorial group developing content plan across all digital channels o Delivering in-house workshop for staff to improve digital literacyNG: o Communicating progress to the whole organisation o Starting to plan for an editorial group focusing initially on the Media channel
    10. 10. The work never ends© IWM Art.IWM ART LD 2850
    11. 11. The last word• Digital strategy can act as a catalyst for change• It provides a vision, a framework and a way of working• It provides an incentive to deliver on time and to budget• It has been a springboard for digital development within our organisations and a driver for positive change
    12. 12. Contact details Carolyn Royston croyston@iwm.org.uk @caro_ft http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/carolyn-royston Charlotte Sexton charlotte.sexton@ng-london.org.uk http://uk.linkedin.com/in/charlottesexton
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