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Dallas Shelby

Dallas is a writer and former indie filmmaker. He is interested in community engagement, co-creation, the Edupunk movement and anything DIY.

Love, Hate & Design Research

There are some very successful design researchers who routinely ask customers to write love notes or break up notes to their brands. This creative and fun approach can (often unwittingly) get powerful insight into the perceptions of customers.

Failure… without Platitudes

We talk about the positive consequences of failure as though they are naturally occurring, like your idea blows up in your face and you are suddenly imbued with insight and a blueprint for future success. It just doesn’t happen that way.

Your Value Promise

NAS Director, Dallas Shelby, shares a process that arts and culture organizations can use to define the value they want to create in their communities.

You Gotta Know Why

In a discussion with several CEOs of cultural organizations about access, accessibility and community, the conversation kept circling back to the question of “Why?”

How to Get Lucky (It’s Not What You Think)

We’ve talked about lots of different elements that factor into a career path. We’ve shared words of wisdom, scholarly articles, tools and frameworks. But I think we’ve yet to talk about what is arguably the biggest factor in one’s career… luck

Fastest Route from Point A to Point B, Not Always a Straight Line

Ok. Let’s say you’ve done some soul searching, consulted your family and your most trusted advisors. You can now safely say that you know: 1) where you are and 2) where you want to be. Now what?

Moon Shot: Charting Your Path

Charting your path simply comes down to four questions: Where am I now? Where do I want to go? What are the obstacles in between? How do I overcome those obstacles?

Research, Reports & Real People Talking About the Arts (Oh My!)

There’ve been many great responses to today’s posts and there are so many smart people…

What’s the Matter with “Why the Arts Matter?” 

Arts Advocacy Day is an important event, to be sure. The arts do matter. But, chances are if you’re reading this you’re likely already a believer. Therein lies the problem… or at the very least an opportunity.

Creative Placemaking: A Conversation

Yes, in many ways creative placemaking has become an often-cited cultural sector panacea. And yes,…

Arts as an Engine of Unrest Or, How the Arts Ruined a Perfectly Good Childhood

For many, the power of arts lies in its ability to bring people joy. For me, art matters because of its ability to do just the opposite.

Why the Arts Matter

In honor of Arts Advocacy Day, we at NAS wanted to pull back the curtain…

The Summit at Sundance: Cultural Sector Ideation

We prepared a report that documents the ideas generated and some of the materials used to help participants frame the issues and work on the solutions at our Summit at Sundance.

Raising the Tide of Value

This post was originally part of a weeklong exploration of four major issues facing the…

A Community Organizing Approach to Placemaking

When a multi-year infrastructure project threatened to disrupt businesses and cut off neighborhoods along a six-mile stretch of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, the team at Springboard for the Arts saw a transformational opportunity. Their response was Irrigate, a creative placemaking initiative that mobilizes local artists to collaborate with businesses, organizations and community groups to “change the landscape of the corridor with color, art, surprise, creativity and fun.”

Placemaking: Leverage, Alignment and Moving Mountains

A video case study on Irrigate the Arts featuring Laura Zabel, the Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Training ourselves to see the invisible gorilla

A recent study found that we only find what we are trained to look for. What does this mean for arts and culture leaders?

What’s your mandate?

What would the pundits say about your organization? What is your mandate?

Stories from the Field: The Walters Art Museum

How does a museum whose model is still about long-term planning and execution of big exhibitions take a page from the tech sector?

The Competing Values Framework

Welcome to the world of the Competing Values Framework – a tool that allows organizations…

Salzburg Global Forum: Some Final Thoughts

We introduced Field Notes as a means of amplifying meaningful conversation. Over the last couple…

Brainstorming Effectively

Brainstorming can be a powerful tool to help your team effectively generate ideas. In the Design Thinking process, it is used in the Ideation phase – after you have gathered information about the people you want to serve and are ready to formulate ideas on how to best address the problem at hand. As with any tool, how it is applied can make all the difference. Brainstorming can lead to mixed results, however we suggest that leading a group through this distinct process will yield the best outcome.

In Defense of Logic Models

There has been a great deal of conversation, debate (and informational video) around logic models…

Brainstorming Effectively

An homage to instructional films of the late 1950s, this tongue-in-cheek short by the NAS team looks at the trials and tribulations of running a brainstorming meeting and outlines some useful techniques.

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…

Public Service, Advocacy and Institutional Transformation

A provocative post by Nina Simon on Musuem 2.0 discussing the role of museums (or…

A Logo Is Not a Brand

Brands aren’t just logos- they are a huge range of things that contribute to customer perceptions.

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

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?

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 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.

What’s an organization for?

With many folks talking about the need for new business models to make arts organizations more sustainable, The Artful Manager’s Andrew Taylor takes the discussion a bit further.

Why Bosses Ought to Be More Interested in What is True Than What is New

With the ever-increasing temptation to focus on what’s new, it’s important to remember that most of our challenges (and their solutions) are not so new.

Will the recession mean theatre takes fewer risks?

As an arts leader, how do you balance financial and creative risks?

How Can You Attract New Audiences Without Alienating Your Base?

Nina Simon discusses difficult decision making with visitor experiences on her blog Museum 2.0.

Unlocking the elusive potential of social networks

We often hear arts leaders asking about how to use social media. This McKinsey Quarterly article offers a good frame for looking at social media.

How does a leader effect change in her organization?

Erin Elman, Dean of Continuing Studies at The University of the Arts, discusses the need to build consensus, use data to inform decisions and accept mistakes when leading an organization through change.

How does a leader effect change in her organization?

Barbara Ceiga, Vice President of Public Operations at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, discusses the need to get the staff aligned with directional change to successfully effect change.

How does a leader effect change in her organization?

Jessica Deutsch, Marketing and Publicity Manager for Milkweed Editions in Minneapolis, discusses the importance of engaging the collective wisdom of an organization’s staff when leading an organization through change.

How does a leader effect change in his organization?

Greg Carpenter, General Director of Opera Colorado, discusses the value of anchoring change to a strong, articulated vision.

How does a leader effect change in her organization?

Linda Hafer, Executive Director of The Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, shares her insights about building consensus when implementing change in an organization.

How does a leader effect change in his organization?

Tom Scharf, Executive Director of the Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver, shares his three critical steps to leading change in an organization.

How Hospitality Companies are Using Social Media for Real Results

An interesting look at how a few smart organizations have integrated social media into their work.

How does a leader effect change in his organization?

Peter Jablow, President and CEO of the Levine School of Music, discusses three types of people you may encounter within your organization when leading change and the need for sensitivity and patience to implement change successfully.

Why Businesses Don’t Experiment

A great column that talks about the common organizational bias toward answers rather than questions… even though asking the right questions will ultimately lead to the best answers.

The Case for Behavioral Strategy

A really interesting interactive feature from McKinsey Quarterly on the cognitive biases that most impact decision-making in organizations