We make decisions everyday. If it’s a one off decision then you may as well use as much information as you have to hand then commit. You’ll be right or wrong quickly. But if the valuable work you seek is repeatable then you need a system. A way to help you make better decisions and measure the impact. Here at the culture team we realise that whilst quick decisions, assumptions and gut feelings can be good, there are many times that we could be better prepared at the point of decision. Especially where the pattern is repeated over and over. We “expect” various things to happen daily such as visits and enquiries. These patterns typically have a limited number of outcomes. We want to be better at spotting patterns to help us continuously improve.
Currently I am working on transforming how we use PERFORMANCE within the service to measure our success. Small wins and large wins. And before you shout that being data heavy can also be a burden, i know, i know. Let’s suspend disbelief for awhile though and trust that tinkering never hurt anybody… For data I keep coming back to the phrase “Collect, Share, Use”.
Collect – what minimum pieces of data can we collect in a consistent way over multiple cycles? e.g. daily/weekly/monthly/yearly and can we collect easily
Share – let everybody see the streams of data as they may have a use for your data eg school visits may impact retail so share it all
Use – take one or more data sets and use them to contribute to understanding user needs which in turn allows us to make business decisions. Pssst your business needs are to meet user needs. For example if we identify spikes in visits to events/retail/café what was happening that day? Was it a one off? Was it a school or coach visit? Can we replicate again and again? we can then resource accordingly. If we have a 4-6 week weather forecast for rain then we expect to be busy so let’s get casuals on stand-by as we can map the forecast to this year’s forecasted visitor figures and/or use last year for a comparison. We shouldn’t be surprised if there is a band of rain for a long period as that data exists out on the web and we can overlay to ours in theory. IF I want to do a lunchtime curator talk I want the best chance of being busy so which days are we busier? As I can see visitor flow hourly is 12pm ideal or 1pm? Etc etc or would 11:30 be best so I can then promote the café offer for lunch immediately after?
I want our workforce and partners to explore our data to help us make a ruckus. I really hope teams start to be interested in bits of data instead of thinking it is for management only. For now we are sharing two data points, satisfaction and number of visits publicly at https://performance.bristolmuseums.org.uk/
Internally we’re building dashboards using Google Data studio. The hope is that in addition to standard reports, individuals or teams will grow their own dashboards, customised to teams and/or individuals with the things that are important to them. This makes it more personalised for a member of staff instead of dozens of seemingly unloved/viewed data.
I will be chipping away at encouraging us collectively to Collect and Share for the next 12-18 months…onwards
In the latest of our collaborative articles which address key issues facing the business community, Zak Mensah, Head of Transformation for the Culture team at Bristol City Council, shares his thoughts on what businesses need to do to avoid the pitfalls that can hamper the most well planned transformation projects.
Back in 2014/15 when I was still Head of Digital we worked on a cutting edge ibeacon game called The Hidden Museum. Thanks to the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts including Nesta [Nesta is a global innovation foundation] and partners aardman, University of Bristol we had a grant funded fun time!
In a recently launched video showcasing Nesta you can see our game at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in action in this 100 second video. Come to visit us and play the game on your iPad.
At work I’m known for being paperless. Like everyone else I use a computer at my desk. During meetings I switch to using my phone around folks who I work with often. It feels more comfortable than using the iPad but I feel less comfortable using my phone around new folks with the whole “I’m using my phone for work I promise” vibe. In this cases I use the clunky ipad. We have Apple TV and Chromecast devices in all our primary meeting spaces so I can show what’s on my devices to the big screen eg Trello or Basecamp.
So when I occasionally whip out my paper index cards or field notes notebook someone usually remarks in surprise. I’m surprised that they are surprised. I’m only human after all. Being human means I forget to charge my devices and need an alternative. Or I know I need to conserve battery life for something later that day. I try to follow Cory Doctorow’s ABCs “Always Be Charging” but alas again I’m only human and easy access sockets aren’t a thing.
I love index cards because they are affordable and I only ever write outline notes to jot my memory. I love field notes because they are small, the cover is indestructible and I heart the company behind them. So next time you see me with paper don’t be surprised…I always forget a pen though (or on purpose as I live in fear of pen eruption in my bag)…
So can I borrow a pen?
According to Kevin Kelly, every organisation has 1000 true fans. We have approximately 1,000,000 museum visitors per year. Some come for the gardens, to research, to play, to use the WiFi, to duck the rain, to feel safe, to pique their curiosity and many more reasons.
We tend to lump them together as a whole, as “1,000,000+” which also happens to be our only core required KPI measure. Get a million and get a small pat on the back.
We then group these visitors into segments – cohorts that as a group have meaning to staff for our own ends. Within this large number hiding in plain sight are 1000 true fans or 0.1% of our 1,000,000. These 1000 fans are the backbone to our service. They REALLY use one or more of our services. The daily coffee buyers who we know by name, the frequent Archive researchers or young parent support group who come together every single week.
These fans can’t be put into our “average user” boxes. They will tell us how great we are or how disappointed they are if we make a change they don’t like. We should listen as failing to heed their warning will only end badly. A slow death.
It’s far easier to think of our visitors as a whole and offer everybody the same industrial interactions, time after time. Instead, let’s delight each of these 1000 true fans. The impact of meeting their needs is far greater than a generic cohort who could take it or leave it. Let’s not look at the averages which feels like “chasing ghosts” but instead ask ”who are my 1000 true fans?”.
Today I had the privilege of speaking at the excellent #culturegeek condference in London. Robots, Shakespeare, memes, failing, games and more was talked about. Below are my slides and thanks for all the positive feedback. Onwards.
Transformation starts with Googling yourself. No not You. I mean your organisation. What do you see first, second and third ? Wikipedia, TripAdvisor and the like ? Good. Now read what they have to say. Don’t flatter yourself. Read the 1-2 star reviews. Ouch. Fix those things. Can’t find the lift? Fix the way-finding. Messy floors? Pick up the rubbish. Terrible website lacking basic information? Sort it out. Chip away at those problems. Go back in 3-6 months and repeat.
Pssst people still can’t find our lift despite the huge signs and our toilets are like marmite.
Tip: Google personalises your search results so you’ll need to clear your cache and log out of your Google account to see what the average person sees. Otherwise you’ll see what Google thinks you want to see based on your search history. Confused? just use somebody else’s computer or phone basically.