A digital engagement framework

I like this digital engagement framework (see below) for museums and the cultural sector, shared on a CC licence by Jim Richardson (Sumo) and Jasper Visser (Inspired by Coffee). I like the way it’s coherent and asks questions that really foreground the public impact of cultural assets.

As this has been put out there in the world, for attributed re-use but also (hopefully) for feedback, here are some things I might want to change.

As we (Europeans) read this as a process from top left to bottom right, I’d upend it and reverse it.

I’d start with Values.

Instead of Goals I would call the next step Vision (What does your organisation look like, thriving in the future? Where do you want to be?).

Then, instead of Ambitions, I’d call the next step ‘Digital goals’ (How will digital tools help you get there? Engaging people should be one of your key goals.)

Next, instead of Audiences comes ‘People’ (The word audiences is too passive and doesn’t incorporate service users. So, who are the groups of people you want to participate? Who will use your services?)

The next step is ‘Asset mapping’  (What expertise, collections, spaces, services, experiences can you offer? What is particularly distinctive? What is particularly untapped?)

Then, I’m not really sure about the distinction here between Outreach and Engagement. I’m guessing it has something to do with time, when people are drawn up your ladder of engagement. To be more precise I might show these two as connected on a spectrum or ladder:

‘Reaching new people’ ….to….’Symbiotic relationships with your supporters’

Then, HOW to draw people up that ladder:

I think there are more elements to tackle than Content, Activities and Platforms…

Platforms and Channels: Where are people’s eyeballs? What platforms currently serve their needs? How far can you stretch into those platforms, and not lose your distinctiveness?

Questions and hooks: What do people want to know? What motivates them? How can you enrich and serve their questioning? How can you develop understanding through dialogue with people?

Stories: How will you (and the people) create stories in what modes or media, using what assets (your own and those of others)? (Stories is intended to be understood very broadly as ‘engaging media’)

Services: What do people need to do? What do they need your help with? Can you collaborate with other organisations or platforms to serve them?

Tone, style and address: What terms, styles and registers will you use to engage them? What tone, styles and registers will you allow or invite them to use on your platforms?

World-changing: How can you work together with people, using your assets, to work towards changing the world for the better?


3 responses to “A digital engagement framework

  1. Hi Bridget, thanks so much for your ideas about the framework. Indeed: we put it out there to gather feedback from practitioners such as yourself and improve the framework.

    I like how you prefer “people” to “audiences”. I think this might be more appropriate. In an earlier version we called this part “people” but somehow it changed. I have the feeling we did so because “audiences” is more lingua franca in culture.

    About the difference between outreach and engagement I wrote a blogpost earlier: http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2012/04/09/engagement-and-outreach/

    To me, this difference is one of the key things in the DEF. As you rightly say: it has to do with getting people up the ladder of engagement. We made the distinction, also visually, to make it clear we cannot do everything on our own websites, etc.

    Also the way in which you read the framework: In an earlier version we had the “vision” part at the top, but it didn’t feel right. Now I see ambition, goals and values as “the foundation” for any digital strategy (it’s where we start our workshops).

    You’re entirely right the bottom part is about “vision”. We avoid this word because the people working with digital strategy often feel they don’t have a lot to say about that. Vision is for C-level we often hear. Of course it isn’t, but by using different words we achieve the same without causing people to feel uncomfortable.

    Thanks again for your thoughts! We’ll continuously revise the framework based on comments like yours, so you can be sure to see some of your ideas reflected in the framework shortly. Thanks again and see you around!

    • I’m glad you don’t mind the commentary. Maybe your next iteration can make more visually clear what are the foundational elements and how it works as a process. I’ll read your post in a bit.

  2. Pingback: Get Baked – have they over-cooked their digital engagement strategy? | Commercial Culture for Leeds·

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