How can arts organisations adopt digital technology?


22 March 2017, Sophia Woodley

How can arts organisations adopt and make use of new digital technologies – and transform their business models as a result?

Innovation is more important than ever for the arts sector, which is facing both budget cuts and heightened expectations from funders. But this is not just a matter of tightening budgets – the march of technological progress means that audiences are bringing new expectations. In order to keep up, arts organisations must develop the capacity to adopt new digital technologies in transformational ways.

Nesta and the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales asked us to use our expertise in innovation and digital technologies to create a report on this major issue for the arts sector – and how arts organisations can address it.

It focuses on the five big questions below. For each question we’ve included a link to a case study illustrating what the answer has looked like in action for an arts organisation.

What’s the point of investing in digital technology? –  How the Young Vic developed a business case for in-venue digital touchpoints

Where can we find inspiration and support? –  How Cardiff-based g39 worked with GMV as a technical partner

What kinds of technology could we use? –  How Artsadmin created digital tools to meet its needs by mapping its activities as an organisation

How can we make new approaches stick? –  How the Royal Shakespeare Company developed new ways of working alongside its new digital asset management system

How can digital help our resilience and sustainability? –  How Miracle Theatre explored new business models based on filmed performance

Our report is free to download here. It includes a wealth of helpful online resources, plus interviews with experts and practitioners.

You can also download the slide deck from the DIFAW showcase event where the report was formally released. 

About the GMV team

Our innovation experts who created the report are:

Patrick Towell, a strategy consultant turned service designer and media executive. He combines an ability to envision future products with a detailed understanding of information and content market, business affairs and technology.

Sophia Woodley, an experienced researcher with a DPhil from the University of Oxford. Her clients have included the Royal Opera House, Artsadmin, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Birmingham Museums Trust.

Chris Yapp, who has spent over 25 years involved in the practice and theory of innovation and futures thinking, with industry experience at Honeywell, ICL, HP, Microsoft and CapGemini. He has extensive experience of assessment work for Innovate UK, Creative England and private investors.

About the Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales

The Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales is a strategic partnership between Arts Council of Wales and Nesta. It is the successor to the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales that ran from 2013-2015. The fund has supported arts organisations
to experiment using digital technology to enhance audience reach or to develop their business model.

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