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Digital Strategies

A digital strategy is a document that lays out an organization’s digital vision, its objective and in some cases include action items. Museums including the Science Museum Group, the Tate, SFMoMA, The STÄDEL Museum have created digital strategies.


Not all digital strategies are the same, and not all institutions need a digital strategy.


Digital strategies range in scope from all things digital to a strategy that focuses only on digitization or only social media. Below you'll find our tool-kit as well as case studies and books aimed at helping you create your own strategy.


Digital strategies are not for every institution, some prefer to incorporate digital as part of the overarching strategy than to have a separate strategy. To read more about if a Digital Strategy is the answer for your institution, click here.


How to Create A Digital Strategy?


Before Creating A Strategy, Identify The Problem. The First Step in Formulating A Strategy is Asking:


  • What are the organization’s goals, objectives & priorities?

  • What are the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats?

  • What are you hoping to addresses with a strategy?

  • How will it be addressed through the strategy?

  • What other ways can it be addressed (alternative solutions or alternative strategies)?

  • Who are the main stakeholders?

  • What is your time frame?

  • What platforms will be used?

  • How will it be maintained?

  • How will the project’s effectiveness be measured?

  • What resources are needed?

  • What content needs to be developed?

  • How will the content be stored and maintained?

  • How can we maximize/optimize the content created?

  • What are the software and hardware requirements needed?

  • What are possible institutional or technological road-blocks?


 The Second Step is Conducting Internal and External Analyses:

Depending on the goals, the organization and the time there are many internal and external analyses that could be done to help map your strategy. Below is a list of external and internal analyses that can be undertaken, one or two internal and external analysis is usually sufficient


Types of Analysis & Frameworks:  Balanced Scorecard, Blue Ocean Strategy, Competitor and Market Analysis, Digital Disruption Analysis, Digital Trends Analysis, Early Warning Systems, Economic Trends, Education Trends, Gap Planning, Museum & Tourism Trends, Kano Model, PESTLE Analysis,Porter's Five Forces Framework, SWOT analysis, Strategy Canvas / Key Success Factors (KSF) of the Industry, Value Chain Analysis.


Other Types of Analysis and Frameworks: Baldrige Framework, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), Hoshin Planning, and VRIO Framework.



 The Third Step is Identifying The Type of Strategy: 

  • Is it goal based?

  • Is it issue based?

  • Is it transformation based?


 The Fourth Step is Scenario Planning: 

We suggest planning for scenarios you think are likely to happen, and when they do what is the outcome?

Here are a few possible scenarios:

  • What Happens When Resources (Staff or Money) Are Increased/Decreased? 

  • What Happens When The Scale of Project Increases/Decreases? 

  • What Happens When Technology Adoption is Transformative/Hindered? 


 The Fifth Step is Writing It Up

At this point, you have thought about your institution's vision, mission, strategy, the world around you, the organization's culture, the problem you're hoping to address, how you're hoping to implement and measure your solutions.


Case Studies:

The Smithsonian

UK National Archives

Science Museum (UK)

National Archives

UK Arts Council

The Städel Museum

The Smithsonian  

Royal Ontario Museum

National Portrait Gallery

Tate, 2013 - 2015

The Warhol Museum

Further Reading:

  • Blankenberg, Ngaire, Ali Hossaini, and Gail Lord. Manual of Digital Museum Planning. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

  • Lord, Gail Dexter, and Kate Markert. The Manual of Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations: a Guide for Museums, Performing Arts, Science Centers, Public Gardens, Heritage Sites, Libraries, Archives, and Zoos. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

  • Kotler, Neil G., Philip Kotler, and Wendy I. Kotler. Museum Strategy and Marketing Designing Missions, Building Audiences, Generating Revenue, and Resources. San Francisco (C.A.): Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2008.

  • Dess, Gregory G., Gerry McNamara, and Alan B. Eisner. Strategic Management: Text and Cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.

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