Business of Culture - by MIT - 2

Episode 2: The learning experience

The Austrian MIT Bootcamp program was a great opportunity for me to learn multiple things. Most of them will surface overtime as details or eye-catching moments. However, the summary of the lessons learnt can be grouped around 3 pillars:

1 - Culture is for People; People is Business

All cultural institutions we met rely on public attendance and interest. Most of their revenue comes from ticketing and less and less public money. Although benefiting from special “entity form” (e.g. the Salzburg Festival), attendance is key.

Attracting people means engaging a continuous conversation that should overcome the generation shift. Particularly relevant was the Kusthistorische Museum, which is organizing “happy hours” to attract younger generations, and the Salzburg Festival, with the overbooked kids program.

The dilemma is how far an historical institution should shift from its tradition to follow recent trends and engage a younger public. It is not by chance that the deployment and use of technology is so far not so widespread and even at times, pushed back.

The conundrum between Tradition and Innovation is like a rubber-band being pulled from the two extremes.

The tension that builds up could at a certain point make, either side, snap. As a matter of fact, it is extremely important to understand the development of the inner tension in any human-centered organization.

Anticipation of the snap point is critical for the future of any organization

As a matter of fact, most traditional profit-driven businesses might take advantage from an in-depth analysis of the relevance of people, as customers, as employees or just as simple influencers to assess their "snap points" which could trigger disruption, loss of market relevance or talent drainage.

2 - The intrinsic economic value of Tradition

Every entity we visited was driven by an inner purpose: extend the Tradition. It wa