What does digital innovation mean to you?

13 April 2017, John Denton

Our view of innovation is based on many years of experience helping arts organisations to embrace it.

Innovation is often dryly defined as “the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.” For those of us in the arts or creative industries, this is something we are constantly doing – creating work that we hope people will engage with, purchase tickets for, or simply value and be moved by.

For us, innovation is about addressing people’s needs and creating value. These days digital is usually an essential part of the mix. This is about more than sounding hip, as digital has been responsible for up-ending most sectors, including the arts.

 Digital innovation works best by:

  • the introduction of disruptive thinking; aligned with 
  • new business models; often with
  • the adoption of new ways of working; and 
  • enabled by new technologies.

Arts organisations are increasingly using digital to deliver art – and the experience of art – in new ways and new places. For example, Miracle Theatre has explored new ‘live and digital’ models for public screenings of theatre. And the Royal Opera House is exploring how Virtual Reality storytelling can make an audience experience more.

Opportunities For Digital Innovation

Digital innovation can be applied to all areas of your organisation, not just in the creation of art works – but what we’ve discovered is that a creative approach is needed to re-imagine a new digitally enabled organisation.

For example, we’ve recently helped a number of arts organisations to define their data strategy. The motivation has been a willingness to think disruptively combined with a very old-fashioned desire to connect and collaborate:

How do we build and deepen relationships with our audiences, visitors, artists and professional partners – so that we can understand their needs and what they value?

Having defined the question, innovation comes from allowing yourself to think more broadly about what you need and what new approaches you will use to deliver it. Starting from the challenge we’d identified, we first worked with each organisation to help them understand their own activities and relationships both internally and externally. It was at that point that the reality of what data was needed and how to use it became clear and more focused.

Another element of digital innovation is the disruptive business models that have arisen over the last 15 years. Creative industries start-ups have had to focus on increasing audience numbers and repeat transactions whilst finding funding using financial models that often seem counter-intuitive. Arts organisations already focus on audience and building loyalty. But in a world of shrinking public funding, could adopting the ‘start-up’ approach help them to fill the gap?

Here at Golant Media Ventures, we have a strong track record of helping arts organisations develop new business and operating models around digital – and find public and private funding to underpin the digital transformation process.

Finally, digital innovation is not just about technology – the technology should always be at the service of the need. Because of this, delivering on its promise requires so much more than just procuring a piece of IT infrastructure. It takes knowledge, skills and experience to ensure that digital innovation reaches across the whole of your organisation, supports your mission and goals, and becomes sustainable. Here at Golant Media Ventures, we have a team that can help you do just that.

Want to explore what digital innovation can do for your organisation? Get in touch with us.

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