Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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#MuseumWeek is approaching #Blogg100

MuseumWeek2015 (kopia)

March 23 to 26 more than 1 000 museums from 44 countries are participating in the Twitter event #MuseumWeek. I encourage all museums to join, for the following reasons:

  • To get better at managing a Twitter account
  • To get to know the Twitter audiences
  • To test the museum organisation and the readiness to participate online
  • To have a dialogue with curious online museum audiences
  • To think twice about the museum’s digital identity
  • To be inspired and find new ways to communicate and mediate heritage
  • To increase the museum’s readiness to produce online content
  • And most of all: The break daily routines and have fun 🙂


Blog post 14/100 #Blogg100-challenge


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A changing workplace: Part I #Blogg100

Browsing around looking for interesting reading on digital transformation I stumbled upon the report New Ways of Working, by The B-Team. It addresses drivers and key changes at the workplaces. One of the key changes concerns learning:

Previously, employees would be invited to training sessions at a certain time where learning was ‘pushed’ upon them, and then sent back to work. For generations who are growing up sourcing knowledge through search engines as and when they need it, and accessing Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), this will seem unnatural.

Allowing for a more flexible learning in the workplace is just one of many key changes. Another is the need for digital skills. Skills aimed for the social digital era are listed in the report:

  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Cognitive Load Management
  • Virtual collaboration
  • New media literacy
  • Design mindset
  • Sense making
  • Novel & adaptive thinking
  • Cross Cultural competency

The list is an important reminder that New media literacy is just a part of newly required skills. And that digital transformation, requires several other skills and competencies that have to be acquired across time. And as new skills are required and even expected, the more important the flexible learning environments that encourage and reward key-changes.

However it isn’t only about employees’ skills. It is also about a new leadership that supports innovation. Digital transformation has to take place throughout the organisation (which isn’t surprising of course), and to achieve that it is important to map all the areas in need for digital transformation. The ‘New Ways of Working” report is a great start.


Blog post 12/100 #Blogg100-challenge



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How to encourage visitor photography #Blogg100 #museweb

Visitor photography matters. This museums goes all in.

The trend to acknowledge and embrace visitor photography is vital for all museums. To what extent it can be encouraged varies of course depending on the museum. The issues with selfie sticks have to be resolved. But the benefits are undoubtedly many, and I would urge all museums to further explore the possibilities of visitor photography.

The Art in Island museum in the Philippines creates environments for the visitor to enter, and a possibility to create personal narratives that includes the museum. The settings encourage visitors to act in a playful way. It’s humour and it’s fun!


Blog post 10/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Digital experience maturity according to Adobe #Blogg100

I read a lot every day online, mostly links that are shared by people I trust and follow on Twitter or Facebook, content shared on Scoopit or things I find through Google Alerts. During this #Blogg100 challenge I will write blog posts sharing thoughts on interesting reading mainly about digital transformation, content, storytelling, transmedia and social media, and how this relates to museums. An area that is constantly growing:

”The competitive landscape for winning, serving, and retaining customers through engaging, immersive digital experiences will only continue to intensify in the coming months and years.”

The Adobe White Paper (2014) Transforming Digital Marketing in many ways sums up museums and emerging technologies, the very things I am interested in and believe in, especially the seven key dimensions of digital experience maturity:

  • Web content management: How your organization manages content across your digital properties
  • Digital asset management: How effectively you manage and use assets across your digital properties
  • Personalization: The extent to which your organization uses personalization to provide engaging experiences
  • Content delivery: How your organization is engaging customers across your digital properties
  • Mobile sites and apps: The extent to which your organization is managing its mobile digital properties
  • Social communities: Whether your organization uses owned social media channels to engage customers
  • Strategy: The combined level of talent, technology, processes, and knowledge of your organization’s digital property management practice

Each and everyone of these seven key dimensions are highly relevant to museums, and equally challenging. And they will serve as a starting point for my participation in the #Blogg100 challenge.


Blog post 2/100 #Blogg100

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Why wouldn’t we go digital? #digitaltransformation


Two men on Northwest Airlines aircraft, one using typewriter, with female flight attendant in background, ca 1965.

Two men on Northwest Airlines aircraft, one using typewriter, with female flight attendant in background, ca 1965. University of Washington Libraries Collections, Flickr Commons. No known copyright restrictions.

”…keys to strong work motivation in three Ms — mastery, membership, and meaning. Money is a distant fourth”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, HBR Blog Network

During several trips this year to present at conferences, seminars and workshops I’ve had to take time to think about what would prevent an organisation from transforming to digital. For example, some professionals still see transformation as a threat. Therefore a risk assessment is central when planning for digital transformation, and here is my list so far of things to adress:

Lack of digital transformation within the museum

First of all, digital transformation has to be adressed. It is possible to just tag along with digital change and to wait for things to happen. But being in charge of the transformation will save time, money and be a lot (A LOT) less stressful to the staff. To enable this we need allocated staff to help the organisation navigate and transform, and yes they can absolutely have the word digital in their job title! Further I strongly believe social media can be a great way to start digital transformation because it requires most things a digital organisation needs in terms of awareness, knowledge, flexibility and readiness.

Fear of losing authority

This is particularly common among staff who’s job it has been so far to build up authority, to argue for their research and to show the audience the strong voice of the museum. It is difficult especially for scientists and academics with a higher degree to have to spend time discussing their work with non academics, amateur researchers etc. To find a common language and a common platform is necessary to bridge this very old and traditional gap. Why not compulsory tweeting?

Fear of popularizing the museum collections

In 2000 I visited Minnesota Historical Society and one thing I strongly remember is a poster with, I think Abraham Lincoln, or some other important historical person, with a red clown nose attached to his nose. This is a great reminder of that we can’t decide how the next generations will come across our collections, what their first encounter will be like. By now we (digital staff and most of our colleagues) know this doesn’t reduce our abilities to enable learning, on the contrary it opens up for new audiences. It’s all about attention and engagement. Again some staff might not see the benefits and thus chose not to participate.

Not sure about the actual value and benefits

This is a highly important problem, since evaluating the benefits of digital and social media is diffucult, it takes time and it’s more than just counting numbers of published items. This is of course something that most museum staff engaged with digital already know, but when working specifically with digital transformation this is central. If we can’t communicate the benefits to our stakeholders, they will neither set aside time nor staff and money.

Lack of funding (or re-prioritizing the budget)

Social media might be free (almost) to use, but working seriously with the digital tools and channels requires reallocating money within the organisation. To boost digital transformation we have to communicate the need for a budget to the management.

Be left in the old museum practice

To work with digital transformation we need to analyse our museum practices. Are they compatible with the digital and social world? Can we change them to be even more efficient in our work. For example when working with museum collections, digital infrastructures were originally built to support internal needs. Not to be the foundation for a social digital online presence. It is about licensing collections, making them available and relevant to online audiences, but also about connecting the digital collections with the different interfaces of today, whether it may be mobile platforms, touch screens in gallery or on web services like Wikipedia.

It’s also about looking at the collections as a resource for the museum work. Social media is completely visual, and this means for example that we need look at the photograph collections as a possible new interface to the online audience. And of course at the same time think in new terms of presenting the collections online to get attention, to engage the audiences and to enable an active and inspiring encounter between the audiences and the collections as well as with the museum.

Requires new skills

To understand and embrace social digital tools and services requires new skills. Both how to use the technologies, and to understand how they are relevant at work, in the museum. Many of us have learned this out of pure passion and interest, further education, endless talks with peers and encounters with new technologies. To those who don’t seek this new knowledge it has to come from the museum management, that enables internal training and mandate to spend time discovering and learning. We also need to think about what skills we require new staff to have. Are digital skills mentioned when recruiting new staff, all over the organisation?

Rigid inflexible organisational structures

Digital transformation requires transparency and flexible collaboration across departments. It’s easier said than done, but social media is one arena where people from all over the museum can meet and work together on a common platform. Social media is also here and now, it requires action 24/7, and it requires quick decision making further down in the hierarchies as well as open and instant communication with management. If you want to stress test your organisation, launch a social media project!


All this is well known among digital staff, but is something we need to adress when enforcing or enabling digital transformation. Everyone is not onboard. It is somewhat easier when one or two colleagues refuse to use smartphones or to learn about social media. But when the staff not onboard is found within management, or among middle management, we do have a problem. Digital staff need to communicate this within the organisation, talk to colleagues and to the management, to be able to take the next step in transformation.

Of course there are more things to add to the list above. What do you think is most important?

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Digital transformation – bring it on!

Construction. Photo. Andreas Levers, CC-BY-NC. Flickr.

Construction. Photo. Andreas Levers, CC-BY-NC. Flickr.

The other day I attended a webinar with Brian Solis about Digital Transformation. This gave me an opportunity to get back to my blog and to share a few thoughts.

Digital transformation isn’t new, it’s been going on for years. I’ve talked about it at conferences. The one thing that striked me in 2013, was that after three years working with digital development in a museum, things weren’t evolving as fast as I had expected, and that I was comfortable with it. Now in 2014 I can only confirm, it takes time. And we are only at the beginning of an exciting digital transformation for museums.

Though by giving it a name and adressing the issues and challenges that come with transforming, we are also making sure the transformation is solid and going in the right direction. This includes raising awareness of the complexity and extent of the transformation, regardless if we move through the transformation process consciously and in control – or not.

”Social, mobile, real-time and other disruptive technologies are aligning to necessitate bigger changes than initially anticipated.”

”Digital transformation as a formal process is still in its infancy.”

Two ever so important quotes by Brian Solis

Digital – aren’t we past that?

Every now and then there are discussions arising around the jobtitle ”digital”, do we need it? Shouldn’t digital be included in all the things we do, natural in every aspect of our work? Yes, ideally, but not by far yet. We are in the midst of an ongoing and long term process. To cope we need digital hubs of excellence, digital experts, that will help the organisation keep upright and ahead of competitors.

So back to the topic. Finally awareness about digital transformation is seriously raising among museums, and here are five central issues to adress:

Five key issues in digital transformation

1. Know what needs to change
There are several reports helping us finding what are the important issues for managing and embracing digital transformation. One of those is the Digital Transformation report by Altimeter group. However without hands on experience, in house experts analysing the organisation, it is very difficult to know where to start and what to focus on in the process. This is where the digital hub of excellence, or the digital expert in a smaller organisation, is central.

2. Work top down
”It is most effective with pointed vision and supportive leadership.” Digital transformation started bottom up years ago. Today most museum managers are aware of the importance of digital. From there we need to take a step towards the management actually leading change, with visions that fit the digital era, and a leadership that recognises the need for organisational changes (as well as new business models). Get ready for empowered workforces!

3. Recognise the importance of social media
Social has made the case for broader transformation. Recognise the importance of social media, which has challenged organisations into the digital transformation. Embrace the channels and engage the staff in the conversations. And adress the challenge of connecting business objectives to social media initiatives in order to allocate more resources.

4. Map the customer journey – and the digital eco system
To take control over the museum experience, we need to know what touchpoints there are, both digital and analogue. The touch points where the customer encounters the museum. By not knowing the customer journey social media, as any other effort, will remain in silos. At the same time we need to know and be in control over our digital eco systems, know how the touch points interact, and benefit from each other in order to make the customer experience as smooth as possible.

5. Don’t forget the technology
Again, even though digital transformation in many ways is  more about humans and relations than it is about technology, we have to know how technology is being used by our audiences. Of course mobile is one of the technologies dramatically altering the encounter with museums. But don’t forget to approach and evaluate other disruptive technologies as wearables, big data, Internet of Things, makers, payments (through mobile, through social) etc.

Last but not least, with a digital hub of excellence as a catalyst, alongside with social and mobile,  we can keep pushing the organisations to really adress the core issues: Visions and strategies for the upcoming decade in the social digital era.