Title:Innovate or stagnate: Disrupting the conventional audio guide
Authors:Shelley Mannion, Amalia Sabiescu, William Robinson
Publication:MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016

Innovation is crucial to the success of digital in museums, but innovating within a well-established product genre like the audio guide is potentially risky. New approaches can challenge existing business models, jeopardise revenue streams, and undermine visitor satisfaction. In 2015, the British Museum tested some hypotheses about how to improve exhibition audio guides through two large-scale experiments. This paper shares the results of those experiments and the experiences of over one hundred visitors and staff who participated in them. The findings are discussed within the wider context of the Museum’s new digital strategy that emphasises speed to market and continuous optimisation. We draw on Christensen’s model of innovation to make recommendations about how to evolve a product strategy for audio guides that appeals to existing audiences and attracts new ones.