Being a #DSIR2022: Reflections and new beginnings

In the second round of this year’s Digital Strategist-in-Residence I was privileged to have worked with staff from Eastern Riverina Arts (ERA), where I learned more than they did I think! We ended up with a pretty simple, but detailed, strategy that we decided to upload to Notion – a steep learning curve for me but very enjoyable.

This week we begin a new round of the Australia Council’s’ Digital Strategist-in-Residence program, and I’m excited to again be selected to participate as a strategist, working with Open Space Contemporary Arts (OSCA), an artist-led organisation in South Australia dedicated to the development, creation and role of contemporary art in public spaces.

This post summarises my reflections from the round we just completed, along with some gems from the other strategists during our final cohort gathering session.

General Learnings*:

  • Digital literacy – there were many suggestions about how to elevate these skills across organisations, but also the realisation that are more ‘digital’ than they think
  • “Pause moments” – how do you build in time for this? A great concept I hadn’t thought about before
  • Extending what the organisation is already doing, or has already done, and enhancing that (rather than always coming up with new projects)
  • Determine admin systems that work for the organisation – ‘embedded efficiency’ – so can spend time on core work
  • Aligning digital strategy with overall organisational strategy
  • Thinking about how digital supports creativity
  • Accessibility – think about making the final strategy document accessible
  • Don’t be afraid to try out things along the way – don’t wait until the strategy is formed, take an agile approach
  • “People and process over platform”
  • Factoring in “deep time” – and realising that digital tools are often a hindrance (e.g., messaging and notifications mean we’re constantly ‘on’ and can interrupt that reflective time)

And, learnings for ERA:

  • The Assessment Phase crystallised thoughts around needs and helped identify priorities
  • Experimenting and prototyping on the go worked well
  • Designing the strategy within project management software (ERA ended up using Notion) was a great way to embed the vision into daily tasks to ensure they keep on track

And, for me personally:

  • Notion as a tool with many uses and applications – for me was taking a risk and letting go of my standard ways of writing a strategy
  • Importance of identifying audiences and writing personas
  • Face-to-face sessions are valuable where possible
  • Flexibility in ways of working is key to a successful outcome

Looking forward to this next round, meeting new organisations and strategists, while learning even more!

*I couldn’t remember which strategists said what but I’d like to acknowledge them all as a bunch of wonderful, generous and clever folks! You can find them here.

Me with the ERA champions!
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