DIGITAL EXTRAS #1: Two Big Reasons Arts Organizations Are Struggling
1) Shiny Object Syndrome. Organizations too often look to technology as the solution to their problems. They suffer from "Shiny Object Syndrome.” Organizations invest in a piece of technology or sign on to a particular platform after reading another organization’s case study, or because the developers/salespeople swear it will deliver a certain result. But the truth is, it is not about the technology -- no widget or tool or database or network on its own will make your audience do anything. Technology can help host a vibrant conversation, facilitate an event, make the delivery of information more efficient (and in some cases compelling), or store all your data. But it won’t raise you money, help people listen, or get people off their couch to attend your performance. Arts organizations need to understand what is changing about how people get and share information and/or how marketing and communications must be adapted through those tools to reflect our more connected society if we are going to drive significant change. The understanding of how people use technology to create, consume, and share information and what their expectations are when it comes to interacting with an organization, or other individuals, is what is most important.
2) You have to change more than just your tools. Too often, organizations adopt technology without embracing the new ways in which they must operate for those tools to truly delivery results. To successfully reach, engage, educate, or mobilize audiences to purchase a ticket to a show – or really any kind of interaction with people audience today -- you have to do more than deploy a set of tools. Everything about how an organization needs to change to reflect how your audience gets and shares information and what type of information experience they expect when they connect with you, online or offline. Who you hire and how you train them must change. How organizations are managed and how people within the organization interact with each other, share information, collaborate and cooperate must change. Top down is done. New technology both facilitates, and has created, a culture which has encouraged bottom-up, community-driven, and open-source (in spirit, if not in practice) ways of management. Successful organizations are focused on creating a framework that everyone uses to manage and measure their work, determine when/how to adapt to changing times, and easily move from one thing to the next.