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Resources & Insights

IBM’s Centenary: The Test of Time

The article points to a useful question for cultural leaders: does your artistic mission need to be so intimately tied to a specific “technology,” and if it does, what additional challenges should you therefore expect to face as a leader?

When Business Meets Culture: Ideas and Experiences for Mutual Profit

In this book, eight academics look at the strategic, cultural, and marketing parallels between for…

A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Making Complex Decisions

Giving our minds time to process information when not consciously focused on the decision facing us can result in better outcomes, especially for more complex decisions.

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Eli Pariser, the former Executive Director of MoveOn.org and their current Board Chair, highlights the hidden and growing impact of online filters on Google, Facebook, and throughout the internet in this TED video.

HBS Elevator Pitch Builder

There’s a handy (and fun) tool available online from Harvard Business School to make elevator pitch writing easier by focusing on the questions that matter most.

Sparking creativity in teams: An executive’s guide

Creativity is not a trait reserved for the lucky few. By immersing your people in unexpected environments, confronting ingrained orthodoxies, using analogies, and challenging your organization to overcome difficult constraints, you can dramatically boost their creative output—and your own.

Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results

The two sides of strategy: collaboration and competition, covered in the book “Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results”

OpenIDEO

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?

A New Type of Hybrid

A comparison of the nonprofit and commercial models, and the introduction of a hybrid that may be more appealing.

If you were to rebuild your organization today what would it look like?

Linda Ames Key, Education Director of the Vital Theatre Company, discusses her vision for a new theater model with education as its primary focus.

If you were to rebuild your educational program today what would it look like?

Linda Ames Key, Education Director of the Vital Theatre Company, discusses a better model for “art in schools” partnerships.

“That’s the Way We (Used to) Do Things Around Here”

An article exploring the cognitive barriers at the individual level to change and suggest a more effective way to work with the brain’s wiring rather than against it.

What advice would you give to someone rebuilding an arts organization?

Kim Sajet, President and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, talks about the importance…

If you were to rebuild your organization today what would it look like?

Beth Boone, Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project, talks about their process of…

What advice would you give to someone starting a theater company?

Anthony Moseley, Executive and Artistic Director of Collaboraction in Chicago, discusses finding the right models…

Rethinking Capitalism

In this video interview on Rethinking Capitalism, Michael Porter (of Porter’s Five Forces fame, among…

If you were to build an arts organization today on what aspects would you focus?

Abby Marcus, General Manager of The Playwrights’ Center, talks about the importance of flexibility in arts organizations.

Business has much to learn from the arts

A wry, brief paean to the arts and what the world of business has to…

A response to the 10-point Action Plan in the UK

On December 8th, Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced…

Disrupting College

Clay Christensen and his team at Innosight Institute apply Christensen’s model of disruptive innovation to…

Take Back Your Attention

In this post, Tony Schwartz gives some helpful hints for maintaining focus.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rallies troops in brutally honest “burning platform” memo

This post very clearly illustrates a wonderful formula for change taught at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan: Discomfort x Vision x First step = Change

Stop Blaming Your Culture

The authors argue one is most likely to succeed using an organization’s existing culture to help change behaviors in the shorter-term. These behaviors can in turn change the culture in the longer run.

How leadership matters: The effects of leaders’ alignment on strategy implementation

A short research publication about how leaders influence the implementation of strategic initiatives and the…

An Optimist’s Tour of the Future

As arts organizations face an increasing number of challenges, it might help us all to lighten the load by “unlearning” some things – Matt Ridley sketches out what a few of those things might be.

Outcome vs Process Oriented Thinking

Research on decision making in consumer behavior, perhaps with broader implications for nonprofits.

The Lowdown on Arts Downloading

Is your organization making its performances available outside your ‘regular’ venues? Do you think this will bring new audiences into your venue…or just let them see your work from afar?

The price behind the choices we make

This piece from last week’s Marketplace is good food for thought given the increasing competition for audiences’ time and money.

Should cultural institutions be in the business of “romance” or “precision”? Ask your newcomers

Alfred North Whitehead posits that learning naturally proceeds in three stages: romance, precision and generalization. Are you in the business of romance or precision?

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

The arts aren’t under the microscope of evidence-based funding today, but this shift in the thinking around us is already starting to inform the thinking of the program officers and donors upon which we rely.

Rework

The book is divided into short segments with titles such as “Workaholism” and “Reasons to quit” and one of my favorites, “Emulate chefs.” So, if you need a break from the holiday food frenzy or from your great stack of reading, try this book.

Why Can’t Kmart Be Successful While Target and Walmart Thrive?

What can arts organizations learn from the successes and failures of these three discount retailers?…

Ditch Performance Reviews? How About Learn to do Them Well?

This article highlights some of the challenges to productive performance reviews as well as suggestions for how to overcome them.

We Make Do: More Time Is Better, But Budget Is King

Given the challenges facing both those who have facilities and those who want access to facilities, are there opportunities for communities to work together to overcome these challenges?

Managing Under Complexity: Where is Einstein When You Really Need Him?

An interesting article on how we think about complex situations.

Why Can’t Big Companies Solve Big Problems?

How to enable hybrid thinking to solve problems in your organization.

Faith, Hope and Charities

An interesting article on the relationship of trust between charities and the public.

All Together: A Creative Approach to Organisational Change

This report describes the Royal Shakespeare Company’s creative response to external changes that allowed it to grow while staying true to its core mission.

RSA Animate – Extraordinary ’21st Century Enlightenment’

From the RSA in London, a gaggle of animated videos from their public events series.

Stealing Fire: Creative Deviance in the Evolution of New Ideas

A different look at how you create break-through innovation.

The biology of business: Homo administrans

An interesting article on the science of management

The Zombie Workplace Survival Guide

Just in time for Halloween, the Harvard Business Review blog offers tips for combating the four contagions that create a zombie workplace — “where creative people and good ideas disturbingly molder.”

Exploring and Defining Influence: A New Study

These survey results show that influence (particularly online) has less to do with the size of your audience and more to do with the value of the content you are providing

How does an organization design an experience?

Patricia Mooradian, President of The Henry Ford, shares her insights on how to create a meaningful, engaging visitor experience.

What are the elements of a successful visitor experience?

Patricia Mooradian, President of The Henry Ford, discusses the key elements necessary to build a great visitor experience — from resources and research to curriculum and web presence.

How can arts organizations use social media to deepen visitor experience?

Patricia Mooradian, President of The Henry Ford, talks about the importance of social media as a way for visitors to share their own visitor experience and continue the discussion beyond the museum walls.

How does a leader effect change in her organization?

Patricia Mooradian, President of The Henry Ford, discusses the importance of a passionate leader, a deep knowledge of the organization and a clearly communicated plan when leading an organization through change.

Creating a Customer-Centric Business

Professor Ranjay Gulati of Harvard Business School discusses how organizations can become more customer (or audience)-centric and why this is a critical time for them to do so.

The Challenges of Cultural Leadership

In this keynote address delivered at the Bolz Center Collegium, NAS President and CEO, Russell Willis Taylor explores the unique leadership demands of cultural enterprise.

How the Magazine Industry Can Save Itself

This is an interesting piece from FastCompany about the challenges of content providers, which I think has important implications for arts organizations.