Digital Strategy

Where to start with strategic guidance on digital  

With the rush to ‘do digital’ that the pandemic has brought for many organisations, the importance of a strategic approach has often been left by the wayside. Here Alec Ward , Museum Development London, shares useful pointers on where to start with the wealth of guidance available. 

From DCMS’ 2018 Culture is Digital report to the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s DASH report published in October, there are a number of excellent resources, reports and guides focused on encouraging a more strategic approach to digital, but it’s daunting to just dive inIf you’re based in a museum, your regional Museum Development team can help, with some regions (like our team in London) offering direct support for your digital work. 

A light touch place to start is the Digital Culture Network’s ‘Introduction to Digital Strategy’. This short read offers lots of food for thought as you start considering a more strategic approach to digital. For a detailed introductionCogapp’s free ‘Digital Strategy For Museums Guide is a fantastic resourceI’ve pointed a number of organisations here, as it’s ideal for getting a basic overview and understanding of the subject.  

Once you’ve got that introduction, Culture 24’s Digital Pathways platform is an excellent resource bank and “provides people working in and with museums with the tools and knowledge they need to build their digital skills. The National Lottery Heritage Fund also has an excellent resource page, with a section focused specifically on digital strategy.  

When you’re getting nearer the point of building your strategic approach to digital, it’s important to have an understanding of the areas that digital will have the greatest impactCharity Digital have created a short checklist to help you develop an understanding of how digital relates to your organisation, particularly during the pandemic.  

For a more focused look, the Digital Culture Compass’ Tracker tool can give you a detailed overview. Part of the Digital Culture Compass commissioned by Arts Council England in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, it offers an overview of all of your digital activities and how they relate to your organisation strategically. By completing the toolkit, you’ll have an understanding of your digital strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve. By putting in a bit of time it can be incredibly useful as you are starting to form your ideas around your digital strategy. Check London Museum Development’s training video to help you use the tool, on our YouTube channel, or Culture 24’s introductory guide to the tool on Pathways.  

This year, Culture 24 published aexcellent report for Europeana on digital transformation, with a focus on instilling digital confidence across the workforce. The report does a great job of breaking down terminologies and language, sometimes be a major barrier in the world of digital transformation. Whilst the report may not be your first stop on your journey, it’s a fantastic resource as you begin to advance your thinking. It brilliantly highlights the importance of the people, particularly in leadership, within the process of digital transformation 

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. Each organisation is unique; what works for one may not work for others. These resources, reports, guides and tutorials will all help you out at the different stages of your journey. Start small, work smart, but aim big.