I applied for the Digital Marketing Academy knowing full well it was going to be a challenge. In fact, that’s exactly why I applied.
On looking over blog posts of previous fellows, it’s somewhat comforting if a little saddening to see just how universal the time constraints and pressures of arts organisations are in impacting on the process of innovation and creativity. For me, my first big learning in this process has been getting comfortable with the fact that in a small, busy organisations like Music for Youth it’s OK to deal in fits and starts of progress, just as long as you keep joining the dots. Particularly in these small organisations there can be a feeling of constantly being in delivery, especially when one role encompasses so many different facets of work. However, in learning to prioritise actual, no-bones-about-it delivery, and starting to automate and refine other processes in new, more efficient ways, even just adapting to accommodate my Digital Marketing Academy experiment within my existing workload has already been hugely beneficial.
I think the key to this whole process is honesty. Even in these first weeks of the DMA the outside accountability of Action Learning Sets, and a brilliant mentor, while sometimes inducing a guilt-ridden anxiety, are invaluable in being able to fight for the headspace to ensure that you’re not wasting others’ equally valuable time as well as your own.
It’s with all of this in mind that I’ve set up a dedicated DMA 4.0 Trello board. While potentially unintelligible to an outside viewer, it’s my mental saving grace. Having one, centralised yardstick which is ready to revisit whenever possible has become invaluable. Some weeks it looms heavy with neglect, but it’s definitely net positive in being able to stoke the embers of momentum while the particularly busy periods take hold.
My fantastic mentor Ron, while helping me to pin down my main focus for this process in our very first meeting, reminded me that no matter what happens, at the end of this, I, along with my work will have to stand up and be counted in the final presentation. Working backwards from a concrete milestone like that has really helped, and though my experiment is still in its infancy, I’m excited to keep nurturing it.
Header image courtesy of Roundhouse © Ellie Pinney