Being involved in the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy for the past few months has been a really interesting experience but not for the reasons that I signed up for.
When I saw the opportunity to be involved I was excited at the prospect of having a place and a platform to develop the experimental culture we have at Sound and Music. I’m very structure driven so to have a process to enable me to design, deploy and evaluate experiments was instantly appealing. But actually it was being involved in a wider scheme that I found most valuable.
At first I found the process challenging. I was concerned with inventing experiments that were ‘cool’ and interesting, but that I could also fit into my workload. It took me a long time to realise that it wasn’t the experiments that were the problem but my attitude towards them. With the help of my mentor – Ron Evans – and the action learning sets run by the academy I was able to question why these were my concerns and to see my work from a different angle.
I’ve (re)discovered that Sound and Music is a very experimental organisation. I was struggling to create something extra than we already have for the sake of the scheme, whilst completely underestimating all the great experiments that we conduct on a daily basis. I’m very fortunate that Sound and Music is an organisation that encourages me, from a board and senior management level, to take risks and to experiment with what we do. A great example of this being our ‘internal incubator’ that allows us the time (and a bit of budget) to test new things – here’s one of the projects I recently worked on (with the rest of my amazing team Adam Cooper and Julia Baker) where we built our own crowdfunder because none of the platforms did what we wanted: samgiving.org.
My experiment now looks very different to when it began. I initially started on with experimenting with ways into certain web pages on soundandmusic.org, this then developed into a template for designing and evaluating experiments at Sound and Music. My experiment now is working from research from Paul Moore and Anthony Lilley around ‘Thick Data’ – to be published in early 2015 by Sound and Music. It will take their artist tailored dashboards and rework them for our programme leaders to include info from the open call to the evaluation of the project.
Now I just need to get on and do it!