Creating a Culture of Innovation

Museums are facing significant challenges in the current, fast changing environment: digital is revolutionising the way individuals engage with the world, the demographic make-up of society is undergoing a significant shift, and traditional funding models are no longer sustainable. In order to turn these challenges into opportunities, museums need to be adaptive, entrepreneurial and innovative. Over the past four years Oxford University Museums has been exploring how we can create a culture of innovation across our four museums, giving colleagues in all corners of the organisation the skills, confidence and mandate to break out of traditional frameworks, test new ideas, experiment with new ways of working and take risks (with the hope of significant reward). Central to this initiative to build a new organisational culture is the ‘Innovation Fund’ - a small, internal, competitive funding stream to which colleagues at all levels of the organisation can apply to support projects and experimentation above and beyond their remit. This funding stream is supported by a framework of professional development activity, including workshops delivered in partnership with the Saïd Business School aimed at giving our teams the tools to develop and stress test new ideas and think entrepreneurially, as well as bring together colleagues working in different areas of the organisation to enrich one another's ideas. This programme has resulted in some of our most effective new initiatives, especially in the area of digital engagement, but there have also been pitfalls. In this presentation I will share how we established and developed this programme, the impact on our organisational culture, and where we would like to make changes over the next few years. Speaker(s) Session Leader : Jessica Suess, Digital Partnership Manager, Oxford University Museums MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA