The transformational experience economy

The experience economy has been much talked about, but I have not come across the term ‘transformational experience economy’.

I heard it in a recent talk by Mk Haley, Creative Program Manager at Walt Disney Imagineering and professor at UCLA, who toured NZ with a talk about “The Innovation of the Experience Economy” hosted by Mahuki.

The ‘transformational experience economy’ is an evolution of the experience economy. The experience economy creates value through experiences and the memory they create – Walt Disney was a real pioneer of it. Yet it still leaves us in the role of a consumer.

A transformational experience goes further, it connects in a deeper way, changes our thinking or motivates us to take action and make the world better – it transforms us in some way.

For example, this could be the experience in a natural history exhibition or a zoo that makes us more aware of the environment and we take action in reducing our waste as a consequence.

The interesting insight Mk shared is that such experiences don’t just make for a good experience and a good memory, but make people feel better about themselves as a result. Quite powerful.

Seeing how many brands in retail and entertainment are now connecting their story with more meaningful outcomes it is already quite a trend. Here in NZ Eat my Lunch might be a good example.

Here is a link to an article and the model from original discoverers of the Experience Economy.

It also reminded me of a really interesting approach that Te Papa is developing on measuring the impact its activities have on audiences. As the impacts go deeper, they become harder to measure.

Adrian Kingston shared Te Papa’s approach in his talk “The Audience Impact model” at last year’s National Digital Forum.

Although aware of such experiences, I was a bit slow in picking up the term, so there you go, a new buzz word. If you have more experience with it, drop me a note!

Perceptions Matter – How Welcoming Are Cultural Organizations?

Cultural organisations as “places for people like me”

Younger audiences are more likely to think that cultural organisations are not ‘for people like for them’, says Colleen Dilenschneider in this KYOB post.

“There’s a lot to the ‘negative attitude affinities’ conversation. It’s wrapped up in diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as age, physical ability, interest, income, being a parent or not, and self-identity. And because people are many things, there is no single magic bullet,” she argues.

The solution (and challenge) – an organisational culture that is consistently welcoming and to people of various different backgrounds and needs.

Money, Morals and Metrics: How Should We Measure the Success of Museums?

Why attendance is too crude a measure

Thought-provoking article with a variety of views from international museum directors about measuring the success of museums and why attendance is not enough on in other words.

Some highlights:

  • “…how do you measure ‘quality’ in numbers? It’s much easier to track attendance than to try to answer that question.” (Emilie Gordenker, director The Mauritshuis, the Hague)
  • Attendance can “act as an ‘index of relevance’, but the numbers should be tempered with a “kind of high-level of responsibility towards … society at large, in saying: ‘Are we doing something together that will make us as a people more intelligent, maybe more tolerant and certainly more visually acute?’” (Richard Armstrong, Director Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation)
    • “Museums should be ‘of the people and for the people’ by generating debate” (Taco Dibbits, director Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
    • A more interesting measure … is stickiness: do people want to visit more frequently and spend more time at the museum looking and thinking about art?” (Glenn Lowry, director Museum of Modern Art, New York)
    • “You can very well as a museum decide you want to attract a different group of visitors, which might lead to a decline in numbers, but that will have achieved the objective that you set. … Attendance on its own is simply too rough a measure to be meaningful.” (Emilie Gordenker, director the Mauritshuis, the Hague)

    Culture shapes society as much as the other way round

    John Holden on the disconnect between the arts sector and the public at large. A UK based article that resonates more broadly if we consider increasing income and education disparities in other places.

    An article that raises some provocative questions:

    Could the role of culture be turned on its head, with a democratically determined and inclusive culture undermining rather than perpetuating social division?

    Could a re-imagining of culture as something that people develop and create together to re-orient us towards the goal of a classless society?

    And could the mass realisation of personal creativity offer a new economic model, producing a kind of capitalism that is not simply about increasing GDP and accumulating money, but about the growth of human capacities and the human spirit?

    Read the full article here.

    A new approach to connecting art and business

    A co-working space at an arts centre

    London’s Battersea Arts Centre has taken the unusual step to open a co-working space for local creative business ventures to promote creativity and community working.

    Read more about this move from Liz Moreton, Director of Creativity and Social Change at Battersea Arts Centre.

    The myth of trickle down diversity

    Do more black, Asian and minority Ethnic people (BAME) in executive positions in the media help or hinder the progress of BAME people in the industry?

    Alarmingly the answer seems to be “Maybe – but at a great personal cost” according to this BlackOnWhiteTV blog article: http://blackonwhitetv.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-myth-of-trickledown-diversity.html

    This seems relevant beyond the media sector and the UK. So often we hear in the cultural sector that if only there was more diversity in decision making roles (and much needs to be done to get there), then artists and audiences would become more diverse too. But as the article argues, it’s not automatic. A broader culture change is required for all of us.