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Leading Innovation At Kelvingrove (A), Case Study

1883 words - 8 pages

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland; a Victorian era museum established in 1901 to express the pride, wealth, and cultural ambitions of the industrial city of Kelvingrove, was in need of change in the late 1980’s to be more relevant to modern audiences. Starting in 1990, when Mark O’Neil joined the Kelvingore Museum, Mark was tasked with bringing innovation to the entire museum by the then director Julian Spalding. After an initial start by O’Neil into implementing some of Spalding’s radical innovative ideas, O’Neil was side tracked into a separate project at the St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art. The St. Mungo’s work provided some insight and allowed experimentation with some of the innovative ideas Spalding wanted to use at Kelvingrove of using storytelling to organize themes within the museum. In 1993 with the work complete at St. Mungo’s O’Neil could was finally able to start on the needed change and find funding to bring about the change. Between 1994 and 1996 O’Neil developed and began implementing the storytelling concept when the Kelvingrove Museum submitted their request for funding for renovations to the museum. This initial request was rejected, which caused the O’Neil to totally reevaluate the approach taken in the change to the user experience as well as the approach to the application for funds. It took O’Neil and his staff two years to reevaluate and resubmit, but finally in 1998 they were approved for funding for renovations. During this reevaluation period for the funding O’Neil concluded that evaluation of a proposed change on the front end; to “Work out how to do it before you spend all the money on getting it wrong and it’s too late to fix it,” (Liedtka & Salzman, 2009, p. 9) was absolutely required to be able to receive endorsement by all the stakeholders involved with the museum to agree with the changes. After closing for three years from 2003 to 2006 for the renovations to the building and to fully implement the storytelling approach Kelvingrove Museum has become the most popular touristy destination even surpassing Edinburgh Castle.
What makes something innovative?
In the context of the Kelvingrove Museum innovation the innovations employed took the traditional course of innovations similar to the typewriter, “how an innovation often draws from existing technologies and models for its application but uses these elements creatively in combination with new ones to form a uniquely different product.” (Utterback, 1996, p. 2) O’Neil used this concept at his first museum at Springburn rather than doing the history of locomotive building, for example, the staff created an exhibition on the history of work. “It covered all the important history, but it came right up to date and engaged with unemployment and training and what work meant where so many were unemployed,” (Liedtka & Salzman, 2009, p. 4) O’Neil and his staff at Springburn did not throw out the traditional museum model of...

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