Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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I should make myself obsolete

Digital Darwinism, by Brian Solis. CC-BY

Are museums able to adapt – again? Digital Darwinism, by Brian Solis. CC-BY

Groundbreaking news – though not so surprising – from Swedish Ad Agency Honesty:

”Today we’re upgrading Honesty 1.0 to version 2.0, and in doing so we remove all digital roles from the agency. It just doesn’t make sense anymore to have separate staff to handle a separate area which is inherently impossible to separate from anything else. Instead, all roles at the agency will approach their work from a digital and mobile perspective.” says CEO Walter Naeslund. ”After the announcement this morning the entire agency was suddenly on their feet devouring blogs, podcasts and whitepapers when they realized it was going to be their own responsibility and nobody else’s to deliver on digital and mobile. It was a beautiful sight.” (Read full story here).

I don’t have to say that this is also a necessary step for museums do I?

Digital Darwinism is an expression used by Brian Solis, and I thought it was suitable here – it’s about the disability of an organisation to adapt quick enough to the evolving consumer behaviour. Survival of the adaptable, not the strongest or most intelligent ones.

My professional role is all about digital and I sincerely hope that I will be obsolete within a year or two.


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Digital skills required

When writing a CV in search for a job in the heritage sector in Sweden, for quite some time declaring your computer skills has been and still is important. Though it is never stated in ads these days, basic skills like Word, Excel, Power Point (!) and Outlook is expected, handling a cell phone as well.

But what about all the digital tools available to museums today? Are they considered vital? Or are they in fact making their way into the museums by hazard, through staff with enough curiosity to try them out? (My definition of digital tools here is perhaps not very elaborate and contains both computer softwares and web services).

The other day I had a chat with some colleagues from other museums and quickly realised that it’s time to make a list of all the digital tools I use at work. Ok, it’s my job to work in the digital area, but still many of them are being picked up by colleagues, curators, archivists, librarians etc.

Digital tools I use at work

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • QR Codes
  • Google Analytics
  • WordPress
  • Skype
  • Dropbox
  • Yammer
  • Doodle
  • Google Docs/Drive, Calendar, Maps etc.
  • Ning
  • Base Camp
  • SlideShare
  • Bambuser
  • A mobile guide CMS
  • Website CMS
  • Newsletter service
  • Adobe Creative Suite

(And I probably forgot a few… still the point is made)

Out of these tools I have several colleagues using social media channels, WordPress, Ning, Google Docs, Doodle etc. And for each and every day we are adopting more tools, integrating them into our work.

Many museums are integrating digital tools into every day activities. Leaders are picking up on the importance of digital skills among the staff. And as communications consultant Brit Stakston states it in her blog post (my translation):

”It is a leadership issue. Nothing else. It is within the leadership that the signal is given that it is a priority to add digital communication to what is done today, regardless of the business area. This is where the mandate given to test, train and provide the comfort that is needed to integrate social media into every stage of operations. It is management that ensure professional development for all employees.”

She then points out that it is the leader who should treasure the new ideas that will be born out of the newly acquired digital skills, and make sure that  these skills are utilized and implemented.

Her verdict over leaders who fail to recognise the need for developing and supporting digital skills is hard:

”In autumn of 2012, we are approaching a situation where a leadership that neglects digitization (i.e. digital skills and tools, my note) is a leadership that grossly neglects the business. And how many companies and businesses can afford that?”

To all of you who are writing your CV:s today, are you stating your digital skills? All of them? And will your future employer consider them as good (or even vital) qualities?