Culture Change Conference – Shooting the Rapids

Date: 01/02/11
Author: Clare Cooper

The most interactive of the three main sessions at MMM and CLP’s Culture Change Conference last week was called ‘Shooting the Rapids’. Six open space/unconference style gatherings, two on each of the three themes of the conference: ‘Renew Mission’, ‘Reconfigure Business Models’, ‘Revise Approach to Money’ were facilitated and ‘pollinated’ by a host of amazing individuals at the forefront of our evolving arts and cultural ecology.

Renew Mission

Facilitators: Charlotte Jones (ITC and ERA21), and Maurice Davies (MA and ERA21), Pollinators: Tony Butler (MEAL and MMM Capital Matters case study), Gwilym Gibbons (Shetland Arts and MMM Capital Matters case study), Maria Bota, (Salisbury Festival and MMM Capital Matters Case Study), David Brownlee (Audiences UK and ERA21) Clive Gillman (DCA and MMM (re)evolver network member, Laura Sillars (FACT)

Reconfigure Business Models

Facilitators: Mark Robinson, (his own Thinking Practice and MMM Associate), Holly Tebbutt, (her own practice and Researcher on MMM Capital Matters), Pollinators: Declan Baharini, (NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues MMM Collaborative Working pilot), Dave Moutrey (Cornerhouse), Hannah Rudman (MMM Associate), Sian Prime (Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship) Sarah Pickthall (Cusp inc), Morag Arnot (Creative Scotland)

Revise Approach to Money

Facilitators: Susan Royce (Independent Consultant) and Claire Antrobus (her own practice and Researcher on MMM Capital Matters), Pollinators: Sarah Preece, Battersea Arts Centre (MMM Capital Matters case study), Julia Twomlow(Leach Pottery and MMM Capital Matters case study), Jim Beirne, (Live Theatre and MMM Capital Matters Case Study) Keith Jeffrey, (Derby QUAD) Rachel Arnold, (Impact Arts), Ed Whiting, (wedidthis)

Each group to heard a short 5 minute case story from each of the pollinators which illustrated real front line change in ways of thinking and ways of doing that is already happening. Each group were then asked to consider the following question: How can capacity in their theme (renew mission, reconfigure business model, revise approach to money) be further accelerated in order to help creative practitioners and organisations survive and thrive in the turbulence ahead?

Here are the bullet points responses: (Hope I captured them correctly – a few were a bit hard to read!) Mission Organisations want:

Information on everyone else’s mission – a mission bank
Help to understand each organisation’s place
Better sharing of good practice concisely
Sharing of market intelligence
Help with understanding mechanisms of government e.g. Treasury Green Book
Learn form other sectors e.g. social enterprise
Examples of Board and staff working together
Better access to evaluations and intelligent use of data
Better understanding of changes in civil society (eg implications of localism bill, how NHS operates)
Brokerage with introductions to organizations outside cultural sector
Peer to peer conversations which can offer honest critique and support
Thought leadership – but nor from well-connected men in suits)
More advocacy of their value
To look at what could be
Space and encouragement to think
Inspiration from external facilitators and challenge – Facilitation as an extra layer
Does Mission need to be renewed?
Advocacy needs to be done by every organisation locally
A new government after 2015
No more nepotism and privilige

Development and extension of professional languages to allow us to talk across digital and creative industries sectors
We have expertise in working within and managing highly flexible employment models we need to capitalise on this
We really understand the value and importance of USP and brand, the next step is to monetise it
We need champions for more flexible investment models across public, Third and commercial sectors. We know how to deliver flexibility, do they?
We need to consider how we recruit on the basis of competencies rather than profession much more actively in the future
There are good examples of peer groups actually to develop innovative models for auditing intangible assets and to benchmark assets and models in UK and abroad
As energy is a central challenge for the whole ecosystem, we understand that co-opetition is a valuable strategy and we have nothing to fear from generosity
Our professional capacities allied to the DIY phenomenon (in digital but also in physical) are a means of building conent and delivering new forms too
Break the rules, use positive deviance
Mobilise people
Collaborate (with limits)
Engage Boards
Stop jus talking to ourselves, learn from the rest of the world
Step forward as adults in adult to adult relationships
Be patient – it takes time

The words are really important e.g. subsidy vs investment
Importance of confidence in what we do – we have to value it if we want others to
Need to develop impact measures and use them if we want to argue that money is not the only measure
Train ourselves, get out of our old mindset
Focus on growth not expansion
Organisational design, too many models are 19th century, need 21sr century matrix and teams
Raise financial literacy and fundraising capacity
Need to invest in people
Central role of organisational culture and values
Need to be really clear about core purpose/mission and align organisation to deliver it
Conscious strategy of investing in the organisation to grow the organisation
We saw opportunities everywhere – restructure organisations to exploit them
Learning every day – continual process
Leaders who don’t think money is a dirty word
Accelerate our capacity to revise our approach to money
Partnerships make things happen – different skills and experiences form other sectors
Connect people to our purpose and the money
Understand and invest in our assets
If audiences are a key asset we need relationship skills and we need to invest in understanding audiences
Teach business skills roe at traiing level/university
Soft loans – can we model cultural return on investment to support non-grant financing?
Everyne must think of themselves as creative entrepreneurs
Bring ambassadors into your organisation to build your networks
Every 12-18 months so an audit of your artistic values to confirm your mission
Funders encouraging organisations to think about building and exploiting assets rather than just project funding
Audiences as key asset for generating income e.g. increased spend per head
Embedding the arts in people’s every day lives not just the weekends
Audience ownership
Giving arts students a business education throughout their training
Boards need to bring entrepreneurial approach and skills
Taking ideas from other sectors/industries
Build good relationships and maintain them with generosity
Understand the tangible as well as the intangible assets – Board, audience, IP
Knowing what your asset are and how your assets convert to their passions
Discovering what relationships people would like to have with those assets – owning a bit, being involved/knowledgeable/altruistic
What can we do to get people to think about money in new way we are used to survival mode which encourages us to think too small or to be too prudent
Try to form partnerships/alliances outside current peer group, encourage big thinking about use of money/business model ideas and resources are intertwined in equal measure
Learn from outside our sector
There are always more ways of doing things more effectively

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