Set the Stage//Mobilise//Think//Plan//Discover
The AmbITion Approach is for any creative, cultural or heritage organisation of any type, scale or operational model. We know that many sector organisations and individuals struggle with digital resilience: emerging disruptive technologies just keep coming! Additionally, many organisations and practices still need to sort out their basic technology/contractual/IP/data/business infrastructure to support digital innovation and collaboration.
In their paper for Arts Council England, “Supporting Growth in the Arts Economy“, Fleming & Erskine state that “to develop a sustainable and resilient arts sector that delivers multiple types of value to the nation, requires constant innovation, a willingness to adapt organisational and business models and an openness to change”. They admit:
“For most arts organisations… digital has not yet fundamentally altered the way their core practice or business model. Virtually all with have an online presence for information and ticket purchasing and most will use social networking tools in marketing, but relatively few will be using digital technology to anything like its full potential… It is important then that the digital imperative for the arts does not enable some organisations to swagger across the digital divide, leaving the rest of the arts to peer longingly yet impotently toward the other side… digitalisation for the arts is still in its early stages”. (Paper 1, 2011).
Therefore, effort in progressive intrapreneurship, incremental innovation, and process innovation as well as completely new ideas and experiments, as facilitated by The AmbITion Approach, can result in digital extensions to experiences, applications or products or services; increased user-friendliness; better customer engagement; and operational and management improvements, capacity, flexibility and reliability.
Why should WE undertake The AmbITion Approach?
Sustainablity/resilience: It might be that your organisation needs to consider its resilience and development long-term. You might be thinking about “sustainable development”. This phase contains a paradox: sustaining something is about keeping something at a certain level, avoiding decline. We do need to keep the earth’s resources from being damaged and exploited further, but do we need to sustain all the other aspects of our organisations? Development on the other hand is about not sustaining something for the sake of it that should otherwise die, but about renewing and new growth. For me then, sustainable development is about considering renewal, innovating processes, encouraging organisational intrapreneurship that enables an organisation’s new growth: and eventual ability to be able to radically innovate. But undertaking all new activities in a sustainable and resilient way – sustainable in that the practice of thinking about renewal does not stop when the project does but becomes an ongoing mindset; sustainable in that the way we are doing it does not exploit the earth’s resources further; and resilient in that the practices help an organisation continue to chart a course through an ever changing external environment. Sustainable development and resilience are cross-cutting themes of The AmbITion Approach.
Business Model Regeneration:Perhaps you might be interested in trying to understand the business models of your organisation better, and how they are being impacted by digitisation. Most creative and cultural organisations are a bundle of business that co-exist with each other, each with different socio/economic/cultural duties. We all know that customer relationship businesses, infrastructure businesses and product innovation businesses have been radically impacted and changed by digital technologies. A theatre company and venue is all these types of business models – have they looked at, or moved the separate business models on with the new opportunities of digital? The AmbITion Approach uses some of the approaches of Osterwalder and Pigneur’s 2010 book Business Model Generation to encourage organisations to review and renew the different elements of their business models.
To become collaboration/innovation ready: The AmbITion Approach is still innovation activity in its broadest definition: that it is not solely about radical innovation far from negates the need for progressive organisational digital development and incremental innovation. As well as opening up organisational attitudes to, and supporting holistic change, AmbITion participants have been achieving incremental and process innovations for the last four years. This has both developed the critical mass of strengthened sectoral desire for more digital development for incremental and process innovation; as well as created organisations who are now resilient enough, and hungry for radical innovation opportunities.
To be a part of the Digital Public Space: The web is becoming increasingly controlled by big technology companies (think of how extensive the reach is of The Big Four: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook) – what happens to the libertarian roots of the net when the online public space that encourages creativity, pluralism, sharing, collaboration and open data is threatened? What happens to digital content when its price is driven down to free by the digital distributors whose interest is in expanding their channels? It’s never been easier to distribute creative work. And it’s never been harder to get paid for it. The internet has been an impressive engine of economic growth, but a large proportion of that has gone to a small number of technology companies. Simultaneously, a Digital Public Space is emerging – the collective digitized collections and content of the world’s public bodies, made available to anyone, anytime, anywhere . AmbITion Champion Bill Thompson describes it thus:
“Within the Digital Public Space, every digital asset that can be shared will be shared, as we digitize more of the analogue past this could stretch to encompass the whole of recorded culture. The Digital Public Space will be a high street not a shopping mall. It is intended to constitute a public space that supports many activities and can sustain private, political, cultural and commercial uses without being dominated or appropriated by any one group or model. It relies entirely on the open internet and full access to all it offers…” Bill Thompson, Drew Hemment, Rachel Cooper & Charlie Gere on behalf of The Creative Exchange , Constructing a Digital Public Space, 2012.
Considering the implications of what the Digital Public Space means for your organisation and how you will interact with it will be an important strategic decision that emerges from any journey through The AmbITion Approach.
Audiences are online: Recent research funded by Arts Council England has confirmed that, “engaging with the arts through digital media is now a mainstream activity. Crucially, this engagement augments, rather than replaces, the live experience” (MTM, 2010). Audiences are looking for opportunities to participate and engage online, and expect arts culture and heritage organisations to be, there offering those opportunities.