April 28, 2020
Pandemic disruption lays groundwork for strategic reinvention: OECD panel on cultural institutions
Like other industries, the cultural sector is enduring enormous disruptions due to COVID-19. Most decision-makers recognize the importance of the sector, but the crisis has further exposed its inherent fragility and its somewhat peripheral status in larger discussions around economic revitalization.
Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organized a webinar focusing on the state of creative cultural industries. The OECD recognizes the economic vibrancy of the cultural and creative sectors as sources of both direct (jobs, tax revenues, etc.) and indirect economic and social benefits (contributions to place-making, innovation, and social cohesion in particular).
The panelists discussed the challenges that have created urgent need for government support, and also the opportunities for cultural institutions, particularly related digital technology. Some cultural organizations have already begun to adapt, with many leveraging existing digital content for revenue generation and for improved learning outcomes. Clearly digital will be more important in the short-term, and while its long-term impacts remain can’t fully be known now, current investments will clearly drive lasting changes once the crisis is over.
The crisis provides many organizations with opportunities to invest in digital capacity development and to make fundamental structural changes. It’s a chance to experiment with innovative operating models, implement professional development, and to incentivize innovation, research and development, and enhanced entrepreneurialism.
This webinar illustrated the opportunity to think about the entire cultural ecosystem and forge a more integrated sector that can help many organizations become more flexible, resilient, and sustainable, no matter what changes the future may hold.