This is the idea behind the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new approach to digital funding. In the past, it offered a range of different funding streams focused on digital, with different criteria and goals.
Under its new streamlined funding regime, you can apply for funding for digital projects as part of its overall National Lottery Grants for Heritage programme. Or include digital as part of a bigger project.
Currently there’s no detailed digital guidance available from NLHF. Its old guidance was withdrawn in late 2018 and it hasn’t been replaced. However, NLHF has offered some observations on its new approach to digital, most notably that “our future digital guidance will be less about technical choices, and more about values and ethos.”
Instead of thinking about digital by itself, you will need to think about it as a tool for achieving one or more of NLHF’s nine project outcomes – including the one mandatory outcome, “a wider range of people will be involved in heritage.”
At Golant Innovation, we welcome this new outcome-led approach to digital. Although digital innovation is a big part of our work, we don’t get excited about it for its own sake. Before the digital age, did people write pen-and-ink strategies, or printing press and typewriter strategies? Someday writing a digital strategy will seem just as strange. In the meantime, we can avoid ‘fetishising’ the idea of digital by focusing not on the technology, but what we want to achieve. Choices of technology – and even whether the use of digital is necessary/appropriate – should follow in the wake of decisions about wider strategic goals.
After all, digital is a tool, not an end in itself.
Leading the Sector – Digital Skills for Heritage
Are you a CEO or senior leader of a heritage organisation? The National Lottery Heritage Fund are launching a new approach to digital leadership. Apply by 16 March 2020 for this exciting, free professional development opportunity, which includes residentials, workshops and mentoring.
‘Leading the Sector’, part of ‘Digital Skills for Heritage’, will deliver professional development in digital leadership for senior leaders of medium-to-large heritage organisations.
The programme is being delivered by Golant Innovation and The Audience Agency, led by Culture24.
We're using our extensive research into online audiences' behaviours, motivations and expectations to work with arts, culture and heritage organisations of all shapes and sizes to help them understand and seize the new opportunities that digital can offer in a post-Covid world.