Title:How to Be a Digital Leader and Advocate: The Changing Role of the Digital Department
Authors:Dafydd James, Carolyn Royston
Publication:MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015

In this session and paper, we consider the changing role of the digital department and the new challenges and opportunities it raises. We discuss how the digital team at National Museum Wales and others have approached this challenge through a variety of different tactics. We share some outcomes and provide tips and suggestions applicable to organisations going through similar transformations.

It is increasingly unsustainable, particularly in medium to large organisations, for digital departments alone to deliver all of the organisation’s digital programme. We are seeing a shift to a more distributed model in which other departments are taking on more responsibility for digital delivery in their areas. Some questions this raises include:

- What is digital leadership in museums? Who are the digital leaders and mentors?
- How do cultural organisations develop the digital skills necessary with staff so that they are equipped to deliver their digital aspirations?
- How do digital teams introduce new project-management methodologies that are often not aligned with the pace and approach of other museum work?
- What is the changing role of the digital department? What new skills do staff need to develop so that they can work effectively with the rest of the organisation?
- What new relationships do digital teams need to form in order to support skills development and formalise organisational expectations around digital skills and knowledge?

We address these questions through real-life examples from teams in organisations that are finding solutions to these challenges. For example, we use case studies from National Museum Wales that include a new approach to a website redesign, introduction of digital competencies for all staff, and reshaping the digital team from being a production bottleneck to being leaders and facilitators for digital work.