Research Update: Instituting Technological Change


Picture this:

Susie has just accepted a job at an arts organization that she has always admired. It is constantly engaging the public, creating art that artists themselves admire, and proving itself a credible source of advice on how to bring more art to more people. But on her first day of work, Susie notices that things seem a little off. She is already trained to use their CRM system, a major reason she was hired, but many of the features that distinguish this system are not being utilized at all. Moreover, she realizes that many constituents have multiple accounts within the system, limiting the CRM system’s ability to integrate in the first place. When Susie goes to pull revenue reports at the end of the day, she learns that she will have to enter them into a separate Excel spreadsheet before submitting it to the managing director.  It turns out the managing director never wanted to learn the new system, so anything that goes to her must be formatted the way it was when she first started with the organization…twenty years ago.

How can Susie change the technological behavior of the organization she now finds herself in, let alone that of her boss, so that it operates more efficiently and is better able to carry out its mission? There are many reports and guide books that can help an organization choose the best CRM system for  its needs— like this great one from Idealware— but what does an organization do if it has had setbacks implementing new technology in the past? How can an arts organization imagine a different, better technological future so that it doesn’t get stuck in its inefficient technological present? How can arts organizations overcome their aversion to change by utilizing business strategies for overcoming failure? Part technology implementation and part change management, this journey will culminate in a guide to help arts organizations asses their current technological situation and prepare to move forward.

Have any examples like Susie? Send them to and we will try to solve them together!