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NPACS - collaboration case story

NPACS - collaboration case story

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Published by: Mission Models Money on Dec 14, 2010
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MMM’s2008-2010CollaborativeWorkingPilots
CaseStory:NationalPerformingArtsCompaniesofScotland
 Anexampleofa‘JointPartnershipwithAffiliatedProgramming’CollaborationbyDavidStark,October2010
“Learninghowtoworkwelltogetheracrossawholerangeofdisciplinesandorganisationalstructureswillbeoneofthehallmarksofsuccessfulartsbusinessesinthe21stCentury.Atatimeofeconomicuncertainty,deployingcollaborativesolutionstojointchallengesandopportunitiesisa pre-requisiteforsurvival.”SimonWoods,ChiefExecutive,RoyalScottishNationalOrchestra,2009
Introduction
TheNationalPerformingArtsCompaniesofScotland(NPACS)arethe
NationalTheatreofScotland
,
RoyalScottishNationalOrchestra
,
ScottishBallet
,
ScottishChamberOrchestra
and
ScottishOpera
;since2007theyhavebeendirectlyfundedbytheScottishGovernment.In2008MissionsModelsMoney(MMM)invitedthefivetoparticipateintheircollaborativeworkingpilot.WithfinancialsupportraisedbyMMMfromthethenScottishArtsCouncil,thegroupchosetofocusonamajorcollaborativeprojecttocreateauniquedigitalplatformtoengendergreaterpublicengagementwiththeirwork.Theproject’sambitiousaimswere:•TopromotetheworkoftheCompaniestonewaudiences•TofacilitateapublicdialogueabouttheworkoftheCompanies•ToleveragethecombinedworkoftheCompaniesforincreasedinternationalreputation•ToenrichtheexperienceofthosewhoattendtheworkoftheCompanies•TodelivertheworkoftheCompaniesglobally,withaspecialemphasisonreachingtheentirepopulationofScotland.
Whyadigitalcollaboration?
Thegroupbelievedthatcollaborationaroundashareddigitalplatformwouldbesuccessfulforfivekeyreasons:1.
 
Theatmosphere,in2008,wasirresistiblyripeforonlineplatforminnovation.Socialnetworkswerestillintheirrelativeinfancy;onlinevideosites,suchasYouTube,weregaininganear‐universaltake‐upamongstthetraditionallyhard‐to‐reachyoungerdemographic.Additionally,thecosts/resourcesinvolvedinfilming/distributingperformances,rehearsalsorotherfootageweretantalisinglyinreachofartscompanies –especiallyiftheyweretobeshared.2.
 
Noneofthefivewerealreadyfullyrealisingthepotentialofthesenewtechnologies.Whatindividualforaystherehadbeenintosocialmediawere,atbest,fairly
 
CaseStudy:NationalPerformingArtsCompaniesofScotland2experimentaleffortsthatwerelargelybeingdevelopedundertheradaroftherestofthecompanyanditsaudiences.3.
 
Thegroup’smarketingteamsbelievedinthepotentialtoincreaseattendancebyencouragingartformcrossoverandaudiencecross‐pollination.Acomparisonofaudiencedata
1
acrossalleventsrevealedthatonly3‐16%ofaudienceswouldcrossovertoaperformancebyanotherNPACScompany(withtheexpectedexceptionofSCOtoRSNOcrossoverinGlasgowat47%).Thesefiguresdemonstratedthat,whilstcrossoverwaspossible–andhappening,itcouldcertainlybeimproved,tothebenefitofall.4.
 
Morepartnersmeanttheprospectofmorecontent,moreactivityandmorerelevance.5.
 
Moststronglythegrouphopedthattheywouldbeabletoleveragethecombinedpoweroffivetoreachnewaudiences.Thephrase
‘greaterthanthesumofourparts’ 
becamesomethingofamottoforthecollaboration.Thebasicpremisewasthatanewcomertoperformingartswouldbemorelikelytovisitasitethathostedballet,opera,theatreandorchestralmusicthantoanyoffiveindividualsitesdevotedtoeachcompany.And,becausetheywouldbepoolingfromabaseoffiveexistingaudiencenetworkstheopportunityformoreeffectiveviralmarketingwasgreatlyincreased.Thisopportunitytoattractnewcomers(potentialaudienceswholiveout‐of‐reachofexistingmailinglists)provedtobetheproject’sgreatestsinglemotivatorandmeantthatthefivemarketingdirectorsnaturallycametoformtheproject’scoreworkinggroup.
DevelopingaSharedUnderstanding
Thefirstpartofthecollaborationinvolvedanumberofimportantstepstowardsdevelopingasharedunderstandingandacommongoalfortheproject.Thesestepswere:i.
 
A
digitalaudit
ofthedigitalandnewmediaresourcesandknowledgepossessedbyeachofthefiveallowedfortheretobehonestassessmentofwhereeachcompanywasattobeginwith.Forexample,tosomeofthegroupconceptssuchas‘blogging’werenewwhereasotherswerefurtheronandnowexperimentingwith‘micro‐blogs’suchas
Twitter 
.ii.
 
Fromthisauditcorporate
training
needswereeasiertoascertain,inorderthatalevelplayingfieldcouldbeestablished,uponwhichthegroupcouldbuild,together.Through
training
thegroupwasabletogaina
common
understandingcurrentperspectivesandinnovationsinnewmediaanddigitalbroadcastingplatforms.iii.
 
Thegroupwas
inspiredtogether
whenspecialistdigitalandonlineconsultants
2
,proposedbyMMM,cameintoworkwiththegroup:explaining,training,demonstratingandleadingthought‐provokingdiscussionsandanimateddebate.Further,experiencednewmediaprofessionalscameintodemonstrate‘bleeding‐edge’technologiesandsocialnetworks.iv.
 
Aspartoftheirearlystagefacilitationandsupportofthecollaboration,MMMcreateda
privateonlinesocialnetwork
fortheprojectwhereallinterestedstafffromacrossthefive
1
TheSource,2009.AnalysisofhouseholdcrossoverforallNPACSperformancesfromApril2006‐March2009–commissionedbyNPACS.CrossoverrangeinGlasgowwasbetween3%and16%,inEdinburghitwasbetween4%and18%.
2
ConsultantsincludedHannahRudman,CJLyon,RohanGunatillakeandErinMaguire.GuestspeakersincludedBillThompson(BBC)andStuartCosgrove(Channel4).
 
CaseStudy:NationalPerformingArtsCompaniesofScotland3companiescouldinteractwitheachother,shareinspiringlinks,articlesandtestimoniesandmakedecisionsinthediscussionforum.Theexternalconsultantswerealsoinvitedtoparticipateinthisnetworkforthebenefitandencouragementofthegroup.Unfortunately,aswithmostonlinetools,unlessusageismadecompulsorynoteveryonewillparticipateandthiswascertainlythecasehere:itwouldnotbeoverstatingittosaythatprobably90%oftheconversationswerebetween10%oftheprojectgroup.v.
 
DigitalCollaborationResearchReport
:Aspartoftheirearlystagefacilitationandsupport,MMMproducedadetailedreferencedocumentforthebenefitofthegroup.Thereportincludedinformationonthecurrent/nexthorizondigitallandscape;bestpracticeindigitalcontentdevelopment/distribution;hownewmediaandbroadcastingplatformsarebeingusedbyrelatedartforms,existingperformingartscollaborationsandothermorecommercialcreativeindustries.Italsoincludedinformationonthepotentialofnewtechnologiesanddeliverystillindevelopment.Someofthesecametomaturityduringthecourseoftheproject;suchisthepaceofchangeinthedigital/onlineworld!
DefiningtheCollaboration
AlthoughtheNPACSwereenthusedbynewdevelopmentsinonlineperformancebroadcasting(e.g.BerlinerPhilharmoniker’sDigitalConcertHall)itwasacceptedthatthefiveasawholewerenotyetreadytofacethechallengesofcontractnegotiations,infrastructurecostsandlicensingofsuchafully‐realisedcontentdeliveryvision.Itwasthereforeagreedthattheproject‘Phase1’shouldbetodevelopan‘onlinesocialmediapresence’.Thiswouldbeaplacewherethefiveindividualcompaniesandtheiraudiencescouldbegintoco‐existandcross‐pollinate,servingasaninnovativespringboardfordevelopingthefullpotentialofthecollaboration.Ifsuccessful,acontent‐deliveryplatformwouldbeaddedas‘Phase2’,drawingontheexperienceofPhase1andreflectingcrowd‐sourcedinputinitsdesign.
TheplannednewsocialnetworkwouldprovideaplaceonthewebforaudiencestobeupdatedandinformedofNPACSactivitiesandliveprogrammingandtonetwork,shareandengageindiscussionsoftheirwork.Thenetworkwouldnotonlyencouragedigitalnewcomerstotaketheirfirststepsin
 participating
onlinebutwouldalsomakecontactwithexistingonlineperformingartsfans,withtheaimofattractingthemtoliveperformances.Thiswide‐rangingaimwasperhapsexceededonlyinbreadthbytheseeminglyall‐encompassingtargetgroupswhichthebriefdefinedas:‘
audiencesandparticipantsofallagesfromallsocio‐economicandculturallydiversebackgrounds;youngpeople;students;artsattendersandnon‐artsattenders;funderseducation;community;families;tourists;establishedandemergingperformingartists....
’Thebroadnessofthistargetaudiencemeantthatthegroupwasoftenslowtotakeplanningdecisionslaterintheproject–prioritieswerenotclear.
Leadership
TheearlystagesofthecollaborationwerefacilitatedbyMMMandinvolvedthefivechiefexecutives(CEOs)fromthecompanies.TheCEOStookaninitialactiveroleintheaudit,trainingandsubsequentplanningdiscussionsaswellas‐crucially‐makingformativedecisionsfortheprojectanddefiningthebrief.Therewerebothnegativeandpositiveconsequencesofthis.Whenthewebsite’sworkingparty(whichwasmadeupofrepresentativesfromeachcompany’smarketingdepartment)eventuallytookovertheprojecttheystruggledawkwardlywithanumberoftheconceptsthattheyhadbeenaskedtodeliver.Withhindsightitwasfeltbymost(CEOsincluded)that,hadthe

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