Anyone who has ever traveled knows that what is true in one city, may be unheard of in the next. When and how much you tip, for instance, or the definition of a black coffee. The diversity of approaches to everything from the length of a lunch break to the way decisions are made becomes even more evident when you work in an international context. For me, this is one of the great joys of working in a global, multi-cultural context.
This diversity demands a certain humility when it comes to offering solutions. What works in one context may not work in the next. This also — and maybe especially — applies to the organization of culture. The ubiquitous black box and white cube notwithstanding, how people organize culture (in museums, libraries, theatres) is shaped by geographical location, natural resources, technology, politics, and by trends and developments in society.
Equally, this diversity implies that when you start mapping the future of your organization, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The future of your organization depends on its specific situation and needs.
With this in mind, we developed the Quantum Culture method. The workbook starts with a self-assessment of your organization. In line with the values of the method, this self-assessment is non-judgemental. It does not rate your performance on some absolute scale but instead helps you discover the specific mix of approaches that currently exist in your organization and where this mix is different from what it should be given your particular context.
For instance, to what extent do you approach your audience as consumers, guests, or participants? What is the word you use for the people you work with? When you need new technology, do you try to buy it on the market, share it with others, or develop it in a partnership? Also, importantly, should these answers change in the next five years?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve worked with this self-assessment in several workshops and sessions with organizations from at least a dozen countries and many different contexts. From a teaser workshop at MuseumNext to an in-depth meeting on participatory culture in Rijeka, what amazes me is the range of approaches people have developed to make museums matter, and the diversity of challenges they face in the process.
What also stood out to me in these interactions, is the value that exists in taking a non-judgemental look at your organization and considering whether it is what you want it to be. Instead of a quantitative focus on visitor numbers and financial performance, such a qualitative evaluation starts a conversation, stimulates ideas, and creates stronger solutions.
The Quantum Culture workbook contains everything you need to do a full self-assessment of your organization and the tools and inspiration to turn the outcomes of this assessment into a strategy for your future. As always, feel free to reach out to me to see how we can make this work in your organization, or if you like to learn more.
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A How-to Guide for Museums and the Sustainable Development Goals