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1. Committees | 2. Inputs from the Pan Institutional Strategy | 3. Business Requirements | 4. Methodology

1. Committees

This strategy was reviewed by the Smithsonian Web and New Media Steering Committee
  • Betsy Broun
  • Zully Dorr
  • Michael Edson
  • Lauryn Guttenplan
  • Evelyn Lieberman (co-chair)
  • Carolyn Martin
  • Thomas Ott
  • Cristián Samper
  • Ann Speyer (co-chair)

A working group of Smithsonian Web and New Media practitioners helped write the strategy and provided guidance, oversight, and support during the strategy-creation process
  • Riccardo Ferrante
  • Vanessa Harbin
  • Dennis Hasch
  • Martin Kalfatovic
  • Effie Kapsalis
  • Matthew MacArthur
  • Carolyn Martin
  • Michelle McMahon
  • Darren Milligan
  • Jennifer Northrop
  • Victoria Portway
  • Nancy Proctor
  • Jennifer Rossi
  • Dennis Smoot
  • Sara Snyder
  • Katherine Spiess
  • Cheryl Wilson

Michael Edson directed the strategy-creation project. Leo Mullen (CEO, Navigation Arts) was the principal external consultant.

2. Inputs from the Pan-Institutional Strategy

Insight from the pan-Institutional strategy process (thanks to David Allison) confirmed many themes and directional shifts expressed by participants in the Web and New Media strategy workshops:

Scholarly independence
Strategic direction
Increase and diffusion is enough
Must add relevance, wisdom, and inspiration
Corporate orientation
Educational orientation
Focus on buildings
Focus on programs
Curators as experts
Curators as collaborators and brokers
Web 1.0
Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0
Unit or discipline orientation
Pan-Institutional orientation
Growth and expansion
Diversity based on single identities (black, white, Asian)
Diversity based on complex identities (multi-racial and multi-ethnic)
Boomers and their issues
Millennials and their issues
Brand promotion
Brand respect and trust
Smithsonian affiliations
Smithsonian strategic partners
National identity and pride
Global identity and humility
The real thing
The real thing plus digital representations
Our Smithsonian
Everyone’s Smithsonian
Federal government is dominant sponsor
Public-private balance
Mission and strategic plan define us
Google searchers define us

3. Web and New Media Business Requirements

In conversations with more than 294 Smithsonian Institution stakeholders representing 55 units, the following were identified as crucial for the success of the Web and New Media strategy:
  • Strengthen the overarching SI brand and its relationship to unit brands
  • Clarify Institutional priorities and reflect them online
  • Better support the goals and needs of SI audiences
  • Support the core mission to increase knowledge and become much better at diffusing knowledge
  • Increase the availability of SI’s knowledge to audiences worldwide
  • Provide better connections between researchers and those who use research
  • Increase the relevance of SI to younger audiences
  • Strengthen the Institutional focus on education (and better define what that means)
  • Provide new learning experiences that make education fun and engaging
  • Provide means and opportunities for SI to facilitate communities of learning and the learning journey.
  • Provide new tools and techniques for telling compelling stories related to our collections and research
  • Make available more of SI’s artifacts and assets in digital format
  • Make SI-wide content easier to find, understand and share
  • Make SI available to audiences through mobile devices
  • Extend and enrich the in-museum experience with online interaction
  • Stimulate greater levels of funding and staff resources to support Web and New Media initiatives
  • Enable SI staff to create new online experiences more easily and inexpensively
  • Leverage online technologies to create new revenue sources
  • Get the bureaucracy out of the way of doing business
  • Clarify the rules of operation and governance around online initiatives
  • Provide a core platform that can easily and effectively support the creation of innovative programs
  • Develop comprehensive, pan-Institutional data to measure investments in and use of digital technologies
  • Make the cost of IT infrastructure and operations more visible to senior management
  • Provide better metrics and analytical data about how audiences interact with SI

4. Project Methodology

This Web and New Media Strategy was created collaboratively through a series of facilitated workshops with representative stakeholders of the Smithsonian Institution. Stakeholders were invited to participate in one or several of the workshops depending on their area of expertise and or interest. Each workshop had a specific theme that served as the basis for discussion and debate. The workshop themes included:

Each of the workshops and planning sessions were documented by a real-time transcription of the proceedings posted to the wiki established for this purpose . The main intent of the workshops was to move relevant information to the wiki where it could be openly evaluated, sifted, weighed, and considered by all. The wiki was the platform on which this strategy was sketched, discussed, debated, refined and finalized, all within the view of those who care most about the Smithsonian.

The inputs from these discussions were filtered to inform both the long-term “aspirational” goals of the Institution, as well as to identify the most achievable short-term tactical implementation of the new strategy. Ideas were evaluated by comparing them to the project goals and prioritized by their perceived impact on Smithsonian audiences, level of effort to execute, and their potential to stimulate transformational change across the Institution.
The workshops included more than 294 Smithsonian stakeholders from 55 museums, research centers and business units.

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