Innovation Mindset (Plenary Panel)

Digital transformation is often confused with or considered synonymous to technology. Digital transformation is about delivering on the Museum’s mission, and leveraging technology to achieve that whether it be new offerings and experiences, reaching new audiences in new ways, new and more efficient ways of operating. It’s rarely a conversation about the specific technology, and much more about how technology achieves a goal. In the first section of this session, Catherine Devine and Samantha Diamond engage in a discussion about continuous innovation in Museums, the necessity and importance of it, the mindset needed, and how that innovation mindset distinguishes organizations that will ultimately thrive through this crisis. Samantha Diamond is outgoing MCN board member, CEO and Founder of Culture Connect, recently acquired by Axiell, and also VP, Digital Engagement at Axiell. Axiell/Culture Connect is a Microsoft partner. The second section of this session will profile Jack LaPan from RedLevel, another Microsoft partner. Jack LaPan has worked with many Museums in the US, and is focused on unique approaches to technology adoption, starting with what the organization is trying to achieve and then leveraging technology to deliver on those. Jack will discuss a specific approach on Cloud Immersion Experiences which looks at how teams innovate with collaboration. Brought to you by Microsoft.


Unknown Speaker 00:00
This is Eric again, on our second day of MTN 2020. It's November 11 2020. And I hope you had a great day yesterday to Father's Day Without any too many snaffles. Hope we were able to address your concerns as quickly as we could. We have a packed day today for you. I'm starting with this really interesting conversation that I will introduce on innovation mindset. Microsoft has been a partner and supporter of ncn for the past couple years, and I have some feedback. And so I wanted to introduce Catherine Devine, who is the business strategy, strategy, business strategy lead for museums and libraries at Microsoft, who will introduce her panelists today to talk about innovation mindset.

Unknown Speaker 00:56
Great. Thanks so much, Eric. And good morning. Good afternoon, everybody. Really excited to be here today. I'm so pleased that MTM was able to find a way to continue to have their conference this year. And we certainly were very pleased to support it. I'm excited to introduce two great colleagues here. Samantha Diamond, who is no stranger, I think to MC n. And clearly as an MC and board member has achieved so much that she has recently joined axial will actually culture Connect has joined up with axial. And of course SQL is a partner of Microsoft. And so we're excited to have her in conversation today to talk about innovation mindset. And I'll explain what that is in a minute. I also like to introduce Jack LaPan from Red level networks, also another big Microsoft partner. And he's been specifically focused on museums, I think some people know him from the MTM world. But he's going to be much more involved going forward. So today's topic is, is really about this idea that I've talked about for a lot. Maybe people are sick of hearing it from me, which is that digital transformation is not about technology, which sounds really counterintuitive. It's actually about an organizational change. It's about managing through that change. It's about the culture of the organization. It's about all of those things. And technology is always about being in service of the mission of the museum. So if we think about this idea, that mission is, you know, we're all about mission, all of our museums have this, you know, purpose that we that we exist for, and everything we do is about being in service of that mission. But sometimes we can tend to think of technology sort of being different to that it's a different part of the organization. It's not the mainstream conversation. And so we'd like to sort of Samantha and I are going to be in conversation for the first 15 minutes. And then Jack's actually going to bring it and make it really practical here as to how to think about this. And his idea about what are you trying to achieve rather than his the technology and he has some great ideas there. So Samantha, let's start. So, you know, I often talk about this innovation mindset and enemies perspective that I have now. And I'm sure you have the same with talking to all over the world, many museums, we're seeing museums be different, and particularly in reaction to this crisis. And I see different outcomes as a result. So but maybe we could start with, you know, what do you define as innovation and this idea of continuous innovation?

Unknown Speaker 03:34
Yeah, thanks, Katharine. It's great to be here participating in MC n, virtually, and Hi, from New York City. Yeah, so so we have been talking to many museums across the country, across the world of different sizes, who are kind of trying to accelerate their digital strategy. And as you just said, you know, underlying that so much, is the organizational mindset. And so when I think about an innovation mindset, it's something that isn't a project that you append to your mission or your plan for the year. It's something that's kind of baked into the DNA of the organization. And I like to think of this as, like a good analogy for this as sort of like neural pathways in your brain. So when we're young, our neural pathways are being established, because we're trying to learn how to survive in the world. And we don't want to have to relearn everything constantly. So we kind of get these neural pathways really well established. So then it's efficient, and it's great for optimization. But the problem is when something new comes along, it's like the red flags go off and you have this kind of emotional resistance to change. So to overcome these kind of this primal wiring that we have in our brains, you have to almost have this practice on a daily basis of having this different kind of mindset. So So definitely, you know, think about it. more holistically than as like a project. And one kind of quick example I like to bring in a lot of examples from the private sector is Google's 20% project. So they give traditionally their employees all of their employees 20% of their time that they're allowed to dedicate to a project that's of personal interest that's, you know, doesn't have an immediate business outcome. And it's a way for them to sort of breathe creatively. And it allows the rest of their work to be much more innovative and productive. And I would say the vast majority of these projects go nowhere. They have no like, larger business purpose. But some very important outcomes at Google stemmed from this 20% practice. And you Gmail, which many of us use AdSense. And something very important to the to the museum sector is Google arts and culture actually came from that 20%. So this is a, you know, multibillion dollar company that's actually taking a not insignificant amount of its staff time, and baking it into kind of their daily practice that they're they're going to dedicate to to innovation work.

Unknown Speaker 06:11
Yeah, I think it's, you know, for me, it's his idea of like this, getting past this idea that things have to always be perfect and succeed, that you start a project. And it always finishes and is perfect. And that's not really the way the world works. But it's what we learn from it. And I'm sure that all these organizations have learned along the way you want to hear about the good things. And so it looks like everyone's remarkably successful. But it's so I think we have to think about how do we get that into a museum, right, this idea of being able to be, you know, comfortable to push to not necessarily, I'm not suggesting that we don't present a a very sophisticated sort of face to the world. But the inner workings, the inner engine can be all about learning and trying, you know, I often think back to when I first started working, which is going to really date me, but 1982 I worked in the Reserve Bank in Australia, and in those days, you had typing pools, like Australia was behind, but you had typing pools. And I was not a typist. But the idea was that you actually wrote out, you know, if you needed a document, and I actually wrote a whole document around this particular mainframe system, and sort of the documentation, I hand wrote it all, and then you took it to the typing pool, and someone typed it up, and then it came back in interoffice envelope and like, I don't think there's anybody today that would ever exceed that. That's the way to be right. But sick, right? I hope that doesn't exist, but maybe it does. Still. But in that period of time, we've moved from that to how we all operate today, which is, you know, you write your own emails, you write your own documents, actually, we collaborate on documents together. Now, maybe not all museums are doing that. But this idea of how do we get there? Well, we got there through incremental change. And we got there through lots of different things. But it was never about wood processing, or personal computers, it was always about, you know, how did you? How did you? We just found better ways. And I keep coming back to this, which is old technology should be around? How does it get me a better outcome? How does it reduce my costs make me more efficient? How does it allow me to reach new audiences in the case of a museum, these kinds of things? So then the next question is, how does this idea of being innovative, being willing to push the envelope, having that in your culture willing to try change the outcome for an organization? I really love your perspective, Samantha on, you know, what are you seeing in the world about what difference particularly with a crisis like we've just had? What do you seeing that? Yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 08:56
I think sometimes, it feels like a very dramatic change needs to happen, but it's really a subtle shift. And so one thing I like to think about when I think about how organizations have this sort of continuous innovation is around, I'll put in quotes r&d investment. So most private sector organizations spend about six to 10% of revenue, on innovation on r&d, specifically, and again, this is not a separate thing that has a capital campaign and a grant or something like that. It's like baked into their operating budget that six to 10% of their revenue revenue is going to go towards us. So what does that look like at a museum, you know, a $2 million annual budget museum that's $200,000 a year spent on innovation, half that amount $100,000 spent on innovation, if you like really think about that, like spending those dollars on helping your organization experiments and plan for and make adaptations to your technology. infrastructure, it could be really anything that is continuously year after year making that investment that's now when I say it's a subtle, they're like, well, we don't do this, you know, my museum does this. That's crazy. It's radical, what are you talking about? But it's not because museums do actually spend money on r&d. Now, that's exactly what you do when you have new exhibitions, that's creating a new offering that you're hoping will advance the conversation and bring visitors to the museum. Things like a capital campaign to rebuild a wing, that's also r&d investment in the same way. So we're museums are doing it, we're doing it, I think it's just a matter of the slight shift, that you're not only doing r&d around exhibit development, or rebuilding a wing, you're doing r&d around organizational change around technology, infrastructure evolution around visitor engagement process, you know, methods of visitor engagement. And over time, year after year, making that financial investment, that focus investment will pay off so that when something dramatic, like COVID happens, or whatever the next market force causes the shift, like consumers are on their devices, in a way they weren't 10 years ago, that didn't come out of nowhere, that was something that had a 10 year arc, and you're able to kind of ride that arc, because you're constantly making that investment. And you're sort of like agile and ready for it.

Unknown Speaker 11:26
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I liken it to like personal innovation, right, like personal growth, right? This idea of just pushing yourself just enough, but always doing it like it's not a project, you don't go and do an innovation project. It's not a one off thing. It's not like the digital team is the digital team over there, right? Who does digital and everybody does everything else. It's about embedding it into, into everything you do over a long period of time. And then it pays off. As we know, there's no overnight successes, wrong. Parents have overnight successes in the world. So So then I think the thing that I'm really noticing is there, and I talk to so many museums around the world every day, my life is quite interesting these days, where pretty much every hour is a different country. So it gives me this really unique perspective. And I'm finding that certain cultures are more innovative than others more willing to push the envelope. And that's just a country level sort of thing, I think. And then there is also a certain organizations that are very much looking to do the same things. But clearly we're in a crisis, do do the same things and a bit differently. And then there are others who are trying to do different things. And and you can tell start to see where there's patterns now, where there are organizations innovation, clearly is, is going to be a predictor of your ability to succeed and adapt in this world. And, you know, that's probably hard news to hear. But the ability, I think we're very much an industry in disruption. Maybe not traditional disruption, as we've heard about with all these other industries that disappeared. And I'm not, I hope that that doesn't happen. But we're clearly at a point where we need to be more open minded around those kinds of things. And getting this you know, this culture in the organization is the first step to doing that. You can't become that overnight. I think that's the other thing, we can all just wake up tomorrow and say, we're innovative, we have to embed it in the culture all the way through throughout the organization. So now, how do you think about how an organization develops this innovation mindset? You know, we've talked about its importance, we've talked about what it is, but then how do you actually introduce that into your organization? I think that's a really hard one. That people Gooding me. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 13:52
I think,

Unknown Speaker 13:53
you know, I like to think about it in terms of like,

Unknown Speaker 14:00

Unknown Speaker 14:01
So you keep talking about this. It's like a daily, it's like a takes time. And it's a daily practice that you build upon. I like to think about, like, anyone who practices yoga, or maybe martial arts or something like that, where it's you, I love what you said, like, you can't just, I did yoga this month, you know, I know I've done I've done now. It's like a practice over decades. And and that experience changes. So I feel like I there's this example in the private sector that I really love. That kind of, I think speaks to what it what it means to fully embrace this, which is Netflix. So now I know you're like, Okay, Netflix is a streaming service. But if we all remember, like 20 years ago, Netflix was a DVD rental company, right? So they put blockbuster out of business, which was like one of the biggest companies in the 90s. But then they had their own obsolescence, and they had to massively pivot away a massive infrastructure away from DVDs to streaming and which they then define the category So if you feel like you have entrenchment, or you have, you know, these neural pathways are like, it's impossible for us to move our board or move our executive team on our, I want you to imagine being at Netflix, at this time when they had to abandon their CD business, and completely go into into another avenue. So it isn't the story of like, your museums are going by the wayside. As you said, That's not what's going to happen, they're just going to evolve, they're going to be the successful Netflix story, not the blockbuster story. But I think you know, there's a lot of practices like small practices that you can bring into the museum, like doing things like empathy mapping, and developing user personas, which is very popular in a lot of the audience facing roles at museums like an exhibit design, and education, but kind of broadening around that. broadening around, broadening that practice to other departments. And the reason I mentioned it is anything that's rooted in empathy is going to help you think outside yourself. And that's one of the key things to having an innovation mindset is letting go of things that you have the strong identity with, or letting go of ideas that you took as fact and truth, letting go of assumptions that might be underlying some of your thinking and ideas. So I would recommend, strongly, you know, even a 30 minute empathy mapping exercise can do wonders for breaking down psychological walls, and building consensus among a diverse array of stakeholders that maybe are not used to this kind of thinking.

Unknown Speaker 16:35
Yeah, yeah, no, really great advice, Samantha. So with that, you know, want to bring this to something much more practical. And so with that, I'm going to introduce jack to talk about, you know, read level networks, and how to think about, you know, let him he's much better at talking about this than I am. But something about the work that he's done with museums to really bring some of this innovation to life on a very practical time, tangible sort of basis. And it's just a start. But with that, I'm going to move over to jack and thanks to ninja and I hope you'll stay.

Unknown Speaker 17:10
Yeah, great conversation. I learned some stuff there myself. So thank you, MC n and Microsoft for having me here today. I'm really excited to share. And I'm going to bring up a presentation that I prepared to kind of help guide the conversation. But really, you know, why are we helping museums in the first place. And I just wanted to, you know, highlight that we're helping museums, because we were actually engaged by the Detroit Institute of Arts about five years ago. And they wanted a better way to plan exhibitions. They were tired of spreadsheets, and Excel, or Word documents. And they wanted a collaborative environment that can be accessed anywhere in the world. And they wanted it to connect to their collections management database. And in addition to that, they also wanted to make sure that it could auto generate some of the manual tasks like object checklist and interpretive report. And so you know, after a couple years of using this technology, they said, bring this to the museum community, it's, it's something that many organizations could benefit from. And so that's really what started our journey into the museum community. That's really not what I'm here to talk about today. Even though Curia is built inside of Microsoft 365, that was one of the requirements from the DEA, I think it was a great move. But if you want to learn more about that, you can definitely go to But I want to talk more about how we're helping museums and how we've helped. Because when we started having these conversations with museums, what we could quickly learned is that they already had technology that they weren't fully utilizing, like Microsoft 365. Some museums already had it. Some museums didn't have it, and were able to help them get it for free. Some museums had it but we're paying for it commercially. And I'm like, we got we got to stop that. And make sure that you're actually getting the licenses under the education subscription. And so once we started engaging museums that way, we also realized that some of them were using parts of Microsoft 365 but the planning to advance my slide here, sorry about that.

Unknown Speaker 19:58
There we go.

Unknown Speaker 20:01
So the other thing that we realized, in addition to the kind of usage of Microsoft 365, to help that digital transformation was security. Many of the museums that we engage with, didn't have simple things. enabled like MFA, which for all the technical people out there, you know, that is one of the quickest ways to help reduce your risk. And so I would encourage you all, if you see the link security dot Microsoft comm go out there, if your score is below 70. They'll give you recommendations, they be in Microsoft, and how to improve that score. And essentially, it's not about approving a score. It's actually about making your user save your data, save your application safe. And then the other thing that we learned about many museums was they were primarily using exchange, and OneDrive and weren't getting the full value out of these tools. And so we started thinking, how can we help them understand the tools, even before they go out and by JIRA, or Asana, or like all these random tools that, you know, museums? Have, they have all these tools? Already? So how do we help them understand what they currently have? Well, like Catherine mentioned, you know, part of what this culture, the culture is a big piece of this, because people don't adapt, adopt technology, they adopt solutions to their problems. And if you can align what they're trying to solve, they don't care about OneDrive, they don't care about teams. And so this cloud emerging experience provides a different way to approach them, and make them part of the solution. Because when, when when people look at the little waffle, you know, on Office 365, this is what they see. And it has many powerful tools. And any of you out there that have used this, you know how powerful these tools are. But to the end user, they're thinking, I don't have time to do this, I have an exhibition to build, or I have a heart I need to treat. And so this is what they experience. I don't know, have you ever had user that say, what, what is Microsoft, I don't want to I don't care about Microsoft 365. Right? They say these are options seem great, but I don't have time to look at it. And so this program that we have, is really a way to put the user in a position where they can actually experience all of the different tools. And when they're experiencing these different tools, we're also coming away with a roadmap on how your users think they can use Microsoft 365. Oftentimes, it not just the museums, but even in commercial, it says we're going to use this tool, they try to push it out and what happens, low adoption. So what's powerful about the immersion experience, is they're going to learn all of the different tools. But even more powerful than that, is that they're going to envision how they can use these tools in their respective roles. Right. So now you have buy in from and you have the users pushing you. How can we use these tools? Well, this is how we can use it and curatorial. This is how we can use it in conservation. And so the facilitator during this time is really capturing all those what we call a Hoss. And those are the kind of what's helping build the roadmap so that you know that the users want to use these tools in this way.

Unknown Speaker 24:14
So, again, you know, we're putting you in the driver's seat, you know, this is not a demo. I had a museum mentioned we did some cis in a very large museum. And they had been trying to get adoption through demos and OneDrive and teams. And we came in and did these sessions. And then a couple months later, the Office of the CIO called me and they said, jack, what did you do? We've been trying demos and teams and we're not getting adoption. And we see triple digit growth of these tools, with just in just a short timeframe. And it's really because it is a customized experience for your Museum, we're having round table discussions and discussion, what are some of the biggest challenges, you do have a certified facilitator that's guiding people through this experience. And I think the other cool thing is, everybody has fun. Like, it is just a fun experience and people walk away, you know, feeling like, wow, I learned a lot, it was a lot to learn, but I had no idea we could work this way. And so you will walk away with immediate, you know, productivity gains, you know, how to share easily how to collaborate, you know, multiple people on the same files, we know that this is huge in the museum community. How do you improve some of these business processes conservation request? How do we know, you know, where we're at with that process, or, you know, so there's a lot of different things that they're going to encounter and envision. But also, we're going to touch on security, you know, those phishing links that we all get, we're going to touch on how to manage content more effectively. So they walk away, not only envisioning, but understanding the tools at a much greater depth. And I love to, I love the auction museum. We We met at MC n Thank you MC n. And, and they came to us about Curia. And they were the one, you know, one of the museums that we say, let's take a step back before you adopt another tool. Let's go through this process together. And Rebecca was so kind to send me a note just saying, you know, when the pandemic hit, you know, we got so much great feedback from our staff, because we were ready. They were fortunate, they were fortunate that they knew how to use these tools. And we're using them effectively, and allowed them to keep doing their job remotely without you know, VPN and to the to the network, which we all know is can be complicated at times. So you know what to expect from a session. Again, it's customized on your interest priorities, needs of your colleagues. But the key thing is envisioning, envisioning how your users want to transform your museum. And we're gonna have lots of fun. And then finally, you know, one of the program details, it's a commitment of time, you're going to spend three to four hours with us, because there's a lot we're going to cover. And we do small sessions, there are 11 people per session, because we like to keep them intimate. We can do them in person, or remotely, we'll be doing most of them virtual because of the pandemic. But the output of this is, all of the sessions that you've had, we've captured those aha hours and how your users want to use the technology. And now we're going to help you with a roadmap as part of this program, and come up with some follow up ideas for you. So I ran through that very quick. And I hope it was useful, or at least stimulated some thinking. And if you have any questions, I'll turn it back over to Katherine. But that is how you can contact me.

Unknown Speaker 28:31
Right? Well, thanks so much, jack. I mean, I really like about this is, is about taking this idea of innovation that we've talked about just so big, and it's like bringing it down into something very, very practical, that's going to bring immediate benefit everywhere. Because, you know, one of the things that we see through the pandemic is that everyone is like, grabbing lots and lots of little tools and things like that. And that makes sense. I understand. But that's not that's real money. These things are not free. You already have this, this is not about trying to sell Microsoft 365 at all. This is all about you already have this, how can you use It's the world's greatest Productivity Suite? How can you actually use it in ways that you didn't realize, but really, it's about bringing stunning people to think about not about the technology, but about how it helps you do what you want to do, which is a really, you know, great idea from a jack says it's never about, well, how do I do something and all of these tools, but it's much more about? How can we collaborate together? Better? He's, you know, how, how can we do it to develop an exhibition to develop an educational program to do whatever it is that we're trying to do? And ultimately, this brings benefits because the less manual work you're doing in an organization, the more streamlined things are, the more efficient things are, the more resources you have available to achieve other parts of your mission. And so, you know, I really like the idea of this idea of coming up from what is the problem we're solving rather than The the idea of like, Oh, go learn these tools, you know, and I can attest to Jack's, quote there about this IT director who said, you know, what do you what do you, you know, what did you do jack because it may surprise people to know that we imagined based on usage we measured based on our people using our products, not just always, you know, is Microsoft selling products, right so so I actually have a dashboard that tells me and I'm measured against my peers, etc. And my peers in primary schools and university vertical said to me one day, what's happening Catherine, you've got this museum that's just like rocketed in usage. What have you done? I was like, I haven't done anything. And it turns out it was jack. So anyway, with that, I hope that this was helpful for people. And and and really the takeaway from this is something that Samantha said, I think, which is this idea, which is it's continuous, it's, it's embedded in the organization, start small, continue growing, and it's not about its own department. And it's being open to just pushing yourself a little bit more outside of your comfort zone, always, to try new things and being willing to accept that they're not all going to work. And that's okay. But out of it, you're going to learn things that do work. So with that, we're a one minute over time. Thank you so much to my panelists, Samantha and jack and thank you, everybody and enjoy the rest of the conference.