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.