Museums, Notes

Week 56 at work

A week of blue skies and hot weather made a welcome change. I got up to:

  • Started full steam ahead with using Basecamp for our projects and it has already highlighted little details with big impacts that could easily with slipped by. I’m already noticing a reduction in meetings which is great
  • Had our quarterly meeting with our major funder Arts Council England. Lots of hard work last week in preparing for this meeting paid off.
  • Paul and I discussed how we can get cracking with using an iPad as a way to record and edit audio instead of pocket recorders
  • Ran a half day kick-off meeting Aardman and University of Bristol for a new project
  • Chopped it up with the education team about why we blog and how they can get started. I was pleased to hear others are also interested in blogging so I hope to run a series of mini workshops soon
  • Met with Stephen Gray to see what plans he has for using an oculus rift headset in our Moved by Conflict exhibition.
  • Enjoyed my regular meeting with our IT Services account manager. I fed back about our Arts Council plans for 2015-18 and discussed how we could best have a voice in any IT strategy seeing as we are the customer after all
  • Contributed to our monthly senior management team session
  • Had a sudden lightbulb moment about the direction for the website ‘phase 2′ and got to planning it
  • Spent some time reflecting on how difficult change is in an organisational culture
  • Enjoyed an end of week drink with a fair few colleagues as we said farewell to a few members of staff


Museums, Notes

When you’re not the 80 percent

I’ve been thinking about customer service a lot recently and this recent exchange made me want to weep. A typical call with any centralised service who are setup to deal with the common 80% of enquiries ALWAYS seems to go like this:
ME: “Hello [in a chipper voice] I’m Zak and I’m calling because I have a [known] problem and you’re the service who can help”.
THEM: [Shuffling of script to react to non-threatening caller] “Good afternoon I’m ‘x’ how can I help today?”.
ME: “I have problem that I couldn’t find an answer to on your help and intranet pages. I know the search facility isn’t great and so the answer may be there but it’s easier to call than waste more time downloading and searching yet more word documents or pdfs [which is probably why that poor search engine largely gets a poor reputation] so i’m coming direct”.
THEM: “Shoot”.
ME: Lots of my clients [internal staff or public] have complained about one of our services that you manage and we need to resolve it as effectively and efficiency as possible. Can we have a non-standard thingy-doodle? as this is known to work elsewhere and there is little harm in experimenting as what we currently use is clearly failing to meet user expectations.
THEM: [Reading standard script] “No. The standard offering has been deemed the only solution”.
ME: “But failure to deviate from our current path is eroding our reputation”.
THEM: “Can I help you with anything else today?”  [Run infinite loop of unhelpful responses]

I often harp on about addressing the 80% of common issues first but this is a reminder that you still need a plan for the other 20%. If you aren’t aware of the Pareto principle check it out.

Museums, Notes

Week 55 at work

A hard slog of a week in which I managed to:

  • Had a panic when I discovered how much a project “under-estimated” the time it will take to produce some videos
  • Saw the M Shed biomass boiler up close (we need to get the computer remote access) massive piece of kit!
  • Did a telephone interview with Nick Poole from the Collections Trust about my view on free vs paid digital services which morphed into a big rant on my part ha. In summary making things ‘open’ is a new and ‘uniquely digital’ opportunity we must embrace NOW
  • Reviewed our schools booking procedure as it’s in line for becoming a ‘digital service’
  • Talked more about a digital HLF bid proposal…
  • Got the low down on the interpretation plans for our Moved by Conflict exhibition
  • Held our first ‘future of interpretation’ meeting which will be chunked into bite-sized pieces
  • Made a plan to deal with this years audience exit surveys which we use to help inform our service
  • Dealt with lots of complaints from staff about lack of access to email and calendars remotely. Bristol City Council had to turn off remote access without using a PSN token and of course not everybody receives a token. Major headache.
  • Discovered lots of small holes in our working practices around communicating project milestones. Found a way to fix much of this I hope.
  • Met with key team members to discuss our long road to documenting and agreeing service wide interpretation
  •  Agreed with a comment in a video by Seth Godin that I need to say NO to lots of ad hoc pieces of work and get back to projects that matter
  • Produced our quarterly report for major funder Arts Council England in preparation for next week’s meeting. Great to see the breadth of work we’ve been up to.
  • Met with the Library service to see where we can work together on systems, storage and skills exchange.
  • Finally delivered my workshop outline for a November workshop i’ll be running on “Using digital media as a museum” for SW Fed
  • Attended the best named meeting ever “Meeting with Death” about a forth coming exhibition on the subject of death
Museums, Notes, technology

Week 54 at work

This week I think email took over my life but I managed to:

  • One of our new style Culture management team meetings – change ahoy!
  • Made plans to start our digital literacy programme – learn how to use email, twitter and record oral histories for beginners
  • Met our Arts Council relationship manager and talked lots about working together
  • We’re on the verge of winning a 12 month project but needed to spend some talk meeting their ‘conditions’
  • Talked all things ‘interpretation’
  • Looked at how we’ll resource our marketing efforts once Claire leaves and Kerrie goes off for awhile and came away with 18 issues to resolve
  • Decided how to best proceed with our learning section in the short term
  • Showed a few folks how we’re using basecamp for small projects to ease the process and help us all feel more in control
  • Attended the monthly South Media South West event
  • Prepared our website and social media for the industrial action on the 10th
  • Spoke at an eLN workshop about making ebooks
  • Attended a half day Nesta project workshop
Museums, Notes, personal

Week 53 at work

Last week marked a year in the job and this week seemed like a new chapter. I got up to:

  • Met with the whole team to highlight what our key Arts Council goals are for Q2-Q4
  • Worked on streamlining our data collection but this feels like losing battle
  • Showed our Head of Collections the great work that BIG lab are doing and agreed to give their two prototypes a trial
  • Tried to move our online shop to the next step but stumbled
  • Reviewed ALL outstanding requests for design work (3D, print, web) which again is tough trying to steer the ship
  • Had a great catchup with Andy about scanning and getting our cranes to talk
  • Attended two open data related evening events, mysociety meetup and ODUG local user group
  • Spent quite a lot of time firefighting small issues
  • Welcomed David Butler and his research cohort from The University of Southern Mississippi for a four day exit survey around museum collections and slavery – special shout out to John
  • Tinkered with some website bits…
  • On Saturday I gave two short talks on Ada Lovelace and her connection to The Red Lodge Museum