Guest post: Rachel Cockett reports from the Entrepreneurial Museum conference

I saw a fascinating series of tweets with the hashtag #entmuseum popping up a couple of weeks ago, and thought all our blog readers who are keen to promote their venue would find this conference writeup interesting. Thanks very much to Rachel Cockett for taking the time to share her notes!

Eleanor Roosevelt: Fear is the number one killer of the entrepreneurial dream #entmuseum

This is a quick whirl though the Entrepreneurial Museum conference (9 February 2011), drawing on the thoughts of the speakers, delegates, and tweeters (those who were there, and those who listened in).

A photo of a man giving a talk at a conference

Nick Winterbotham speaking

Hosted by broadcaster Arti Halai, the conference was kicked off by the always entertaining CEO of Thinktank, Nick Winterbotham, followed by a world tour of museum innovation from futurologist Rohit Talwar. Then it was off to master-classes on PR strategy, Marketing and Thinking like an Entrepreneur.

#entmuseum… we are trying to sell things in a world that is already FULL OF TOO MUCH STUFF competing is hard…

Back in the theatre John Donnelly lead us on a gallop through his unorthodox CV. His enthusiasm for football didn’t work for all, and I’d hazard a guess that most delegates aren’t the Holiday Hypermarket demographic, but the successes spoke for themselves. The story of Chasetown FC – the small guys making it big – should be one every museum can learn from.

#entmuseum  “only one way to learn in business…go bankrupt…when the receiver asks you to empty your pockets you feel pretty low”

After lunch we received a fast paced lesson in working with the media by TV professional Surrey Beddows. Followed by business guru Geoff Burch who led us through a hilarious (and slanderous) insight into his life and work. Burch introduced us to “the line of being a bit crap”, if we stagger over this line, most customers will tick the Satisfied box. However, we should try harder: we want them ECSTATIC! Then they will come back again and again. Finally he asked us to consider whether our staff were ambassadors or assassins?

A photo of a panel of speakers

A panel at the Entrepreneurial Museum conference answering questions

Rounding off the day Steve Miller, CEO of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, spoke of how they had responded imaginatively to the ideas of the staff on the frontline.

#entmuseum “work with artists, they don’t think like us”

All the speakers enthused about the inspirational qualities of museums, suggesting a range of practical ideas to increase footfall, such as hosting business networks, creating local ambassadors, and ways to make your people part of your vision. It is clear that the mind set is everything, typified by the suggestion to work with students, “who haven’t learnt what can’t be done yet”.

Consumer shift to wanting provenance, authenticity, realness, a story, feeling connected…#entmuseum MUSEUMS DO THAT #savemuseums

The message was clear. The entrepreneur has a free mind, does things because they want to, does things they believe in, and accepts failure. Entrepreneurs don’t make excuses, they get over it, and get on with it. If this isn’t you then you’re NOT an entrepreneur but you can still take some of lessons away. The conference wasn’t just inspirational “guruing” – there were things we could take away and do.

If you were there, you may be thinking “This isn’t the conference I was at!” Well, if our post-conference evaluation shows us anything, it is that people experience things differently. If you were there we hope you heard and saw something you liked.

The conference was the brainchild of Bob McDermid. Event management by Paulette Francis-Green, programme by PGS Limited. Nitpicking by yours truly. Thanks to Heather, Michael, David and Rafeela for their work on the day, and to Thinktank, for great service and good food (we will come back!).

Tweeters quoted: @rachelcockett @castlebod @mdoness @PooleMuseum @WAGwebteam

a photo of a woman wearing sunglasses Rachel Cockett is the Manager for Renaissance West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter as @rachelcockett or connect with her here on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelcockett

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