Planning for People | Adeste+
Jonathan Goodacre discusses developing and implementing a user-centred design thinking process through the large scale Creative Europe project Adeste+.
a plan, we are lost. Whilst our brilliant skills might help us to deal with immediate
problems or jump on the latest opportunity to deliver short term success, planning
helps us to think strategically and deliver our vision. It’s why a large part
of our work at The Audience Agency involves encouraging people to do just that.
And yet, mention the words ‘audience development plan’ and many people make for the door!
Adeste+, a large scale Creative Europe project, we are addressing this issue
using the principles of user centred design thinking. In particular it deals
with three key problems:
- There is still some mystique about audience development and its relevance.
- Audience development tends to become the responsibility of one person rather than regarded as an organisation wide operation.
- Audience development planning is regarded as a dry functional activity put together in a linear un-creative manner.
Through Adeste+ we especially wanted to help cultural organisations to develop a public
facing approach, manage change and to do so in a creative involving way. As the
project serves both large well known public organisations such as the National
Theatre of Croatia (in Rijeka) and small volunteer led cultural centres like Harinera in Zaragoza, the approacc needed to work for different
levels, countries or contexts.
Thinking. Workshops are taking place over several months in each organisation
facilitated by ‘Knowledge Partners’ like The Audience Agency. These involve a
representative working group drawn from different departments, not just those
with responsibility for marketing or education and, vitally, involving the
leads the organisation through a user-centred design thinking process, helping them to consider audience needs and the way they
interact with the cultural offer. This is taken to the point at which a
prototype can be developed to test and inform further parts of the process:
prototype can be of different types and involve a variety of aspects; it needs to
be open and imaginative about its own potential. This is where creative approaches
to ideation and the use of a visual language can be tremendously helpful. The multi-departmental
aspect also brings in other perspectives, so that we can go beyond the
the UK, The Audience Agency is working with Mercury Theatre in Colchester, currently
re-developing their building and organisation providing an ideal opportunity to
investigate and develop its audience. Especially useful so far has been the use
of user journey mapping and audience personas, centring on the consideration of
real people who actually or potentially interact with the Mercury.
The approach has been great fun and draws on different talents, not just the one that involves writing a plan. As Adeste+ develops, we will report back here on what emerges. It’s an exciting time to be planning for people.
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