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Reading List: experience Theme

A conversation on With the advent of amazing online videos, why are we still so compelled to experience live performance?

We’ve all heard about the TED videos, but there’s also a section of the TED site dedicated to conversations about issues. I found this one particularly interesting for arts and culture leaders. The comments touch on what is “online” and what is “live,”  the importance of context and the gulf that sometimes exists between artists and audience. What do you think? Why are audiences compelled to experience live performances? What is a “live” performance?

A conversation on With the advent of amazing online videos, why are we still so compelled to experience live performance (music, sports games, dance)?


Don’t throw that home run ball back!

A bit of a longer leap than usual, but stick with me for a moment. Baseball fans have taken to throwing back home runs hit by the opposing team, a practice this author decries as “the worst tradition in baseball.” This article on the trend made me think about one of the challenges we face every day in arts and culture.

The author is speaking as an expert, as a connoisseur of baseball. For him, you should keep the home run ball hit by your opponent because, in the bigger picture, it is a great souvenir. If you love baseball, you know the game, you follow the statistics, you care about the history and the records, then all home run balls are precious and great souvenirs. But the fans aren’t coming at this from the perspective of the baseball expert and connoisseur. They are coming at it as ardent fans of their team. They get their value in the experience and in being part of that community. They are taking their reward in the immediate, emotional experience rather than a reflective, intellectual appreciation of the trophy or a monetary reward from selling the ball.

The article demonstrates a trap into which experts often fall. The expert’s values are projected onto the audience rather than engaging with the participant’s experience and values. This is where I think there is a  connection to the arts. Our institutions are run by people with exceptional arts expertise, but only a small portion of arts audiences approach their experiences as experts too. Most are more like the baseball fans throwing the “enemy’s” home run ball back over the fence — with their own motivations and values that are very different from the expert’s. This article is a reminder of how hard we need to work to understand these fans and what our institutions do — and do not do — for them.

Don’t throw that home run ball back!


A Logo Is Not a Brand

A great post by Dan Pallotta on the HBR blog site. He talks about brands as a whole range of things — tangible and intangible — that contribute to your customers’ perceptions. I found the article a good reminder that as organizations that deliver experiences, we must keep our brand in the forefront of our minds.  We should put ourselves into our customers’ shoes, thinking about all of the details that affect their perceptions. What’s your organization’s brand?

A Logo Is Not a Brand – Dan Pallotta – Harvard Business Review.


OpenIDEO – Home

IDEO, as you may know (including those of you who have studied the organization in one of our seminars) is one of the world’s top product design firms. OpenIDEO is their open innovation site where they use crowdsourcing to develop ideas for addressing social issues.

The site is interesting in its own right, but I wanted to highlight it because it is such an interesting example of an organization finding a way to embody in technology the thing that is unique about them, and use technology to extend that experience to a much larger audience. IDEO’s design process is what sets them apart. They have a process that relies on observation, that is heavy on brainstorming and building off of other people’s ideas, that is driven by the quantity of ideas not the quality so you can then evaluate and “fail forward” from one idea to the next. It is a process where “the adults” come in periodically to help sort out the mess (not dictate, just facilitate) and move the process to the next stage. In OpenIDEO they have captured that same experience and delivered it to a global audience.

You can compare their internal process in these videos (using the short version or the long version in part 1, part 2, and part 3) with the process they have created for crowds on OpenIDEO. If you have ever wanted to be part of the IDEO process and experience, OpenIDEO is a pretty interesting opportunity. And perhaps it’s also an interesting opportunity for IDEO to scout for talent with the unique ability to observe, create, and collaborate that they need.

Are there ways to take what makes each of our arts institutions unique and capture that experience through technology? Is it just the “end product” that engages our communities, or are there opportunities throughout the entire process of creation and presentation? Visit OpenIDEO.