Digital leadership – Digital infrastructure and process

With the right leadership, digital tools, systems and processes can empower heritage organisations in their activities, services and capacity. The third online seminar in the Leading the Sector 2022 series discusses why the behind-the-scenes element of digital maturity is so vital in meeting your organisation’s aims and objectives and what leaders need to be doing about it.

Wooden boats in a boat yard next to wooden huts
Photo by Steve Payne on Unsplash

Digital leadership – Digital infrastructure and process

1. Full seminar recording

This resource contains the full seminar recording, alongside some shorter clips highlighting some of the key and interesting talking points made by the speakers: Dr Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant and Jack Kirby, Associate Director of Collections Services at the Science Museum Group. This seminar was chaired by Adam Koszary, Head of Digital at The Audience Agency. It also features a number of useful resources, reports and toolkits to help you with digital infrastructure and process within your own heritage organisation.


Download the video transcript

2. Explore the digital questions and understand the answers

Jack Kirby shared a useful insight about his own digital literacy as he doesn’t see himself as a digital expert. Instead, Jack understands that he needs to spend just enough time to explore the necessary questions around digital, in general for his leadership role as well as for specific projects, so that he has a grasp of the concept and an understanding of the potential answers. This then means that he has enough information to know what further questions to ask and who to ask them to. This is good advice for your own digital leadership. It isn’t about being a digital expert, it’s about knowing the right questions to ask and to whom.

Jack Kirby, Associate Director of Collections Services at the Science Museum Group, on knowing the right questions to find the right answers.

Download the video transcript

3. Align digital infrastructure with your strategies

In his presentation, Jack highlights that heritage and collection was at the forefront of what they wanted to achieve with digital. To do that, the Science Museum Group needed to invest as much in digital infrastructure as they do in the front-end audience facing content and experiences. To make that significant investment in digital infrastructure, they focused on weaving it into projects, rather than directly asking for funding for digital infrastructure. They made sure to articulate that, to complete a specific project, they needed to invest in the digital infrastructure around it. Coupled with this, Jack also highlighted the importance of not doing everything at once, as taking a phased approach is less disruptive. The Science Museum Group’s approach around addressing digital infrastructure through projects lends itself to this less disruptive approach.

Jack Kirby, Associate Director of Collections Services at the Science Museum Group, on aligning digital infrastructure with your strategies.

Download the video transcript

4. Complexity is not the enemy

Dr. Lauren Vargas spoke about how, often, we can be put off by the complexity of digital. But that it’s important not to confuse complexity with complicated. It is possible to have complex systems and infrastructures in place within our heritage organisations without making navigating and using them complicated. This is important when thinking about your own digital leadership, how can you make sure that digital is understandable and manageable for everyone within your organisation, including yourself?

Dr. Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant, states that complexity shouldn’t be the enemy.

Download the video transcript

5. Leaders should be asking questions

Lauren later re-emphasised Jack’s earlier point in the seminar, around understanding enough about digital to know which questions to ask, through her research into a CALM framework for leadership. Lauren highlighted that leaders should be asking multiple, probing questions and not necessarily providing all of the answers. If leaders provide all of the answers, then that leaves little to no space for group collaborative effort within our organisations. A leader’s role is to ask questions like ‘what if?’, ‘what about?’, ‘when?’ and ‘why?’. They should be encouraging staff to reflect on their assumptions and to test things out in a supportive environment. This approach makes up a key aspect of digital infrastructure and the role behind it for leaders.

Dr. Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant, on a leader’s role being to ask questions.

Download the video transcript

6. In conclusion

If there is one key lesson to take away from this seminar, it is that the role of a digitally literate leader isn’t to have all of the answers. Instead, your role is to be able to ask the right questions to support and encourage your teams to find the right answers themselves. Much of this is about creating a supportive and collaborative environment for your teams, but it is also about knowing enough about a subject to ask those questions with confidence. Below are some useful resources to help you build and support those sorts of environments.

7. Further resources


8. Attribution

Digital leadership – Digital infrastructure and process resource (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0

More help here

Lighthouse next to the sea

Digital leadership – Digital skills, literacy and capacity

Heritage leaders play a vital role in building digitally literate, skilled, confident teams. The second online seminar in the Leading the Sector 2022 series explored the role of digital skills and literacies in building organisational capacity, resilience and change, as well as how you can build your personal digital understanding as a heritage leader.

A man faces the camera, standing inside a cathedral lit up in blue lighting

Using root cause analysis to help you identify where digital can make the biggest difference

This guide explores the use of fishbone/root cause analysis as a way of for you and your team to establish key areas and issues that may need to change.  Root cause analysis helps you to identify your organisation’s biggest challenges and weaknesses and how digital change can help to address them.

Sunlight streaming through woodland

Digital leadership – Heritage, digital and the climate crisis

How can digital capacity and tactics be leveraged in heritage organisations to address the climate crisis and to meet your heritage organisation’s environmental goals?  The sixth and final online seminar in the Leading the Sector 2022 series talks about the role leaders need to play in understanding and leading change in this vital area of the heritage’s sector’s work.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Digital Digital skills Digital strategy Leadership

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Digital leadership – Digital infrastructure and process (2022) by Culture24 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

Arts Marketing Association
Heritage Digital
University of Leeds logo
The Heritage Fund logo