LECTURE 4. “From words to actions”
A good strategy process leads to higher expectations and stakeholder involvement, which is why people want to see real actions that result in real changes.

To avoid creating a document that will soon be out-dated, the strategy needs to undergo regular monitoring and up-dating processes involving again the relevant stakeholder groups.

The short-term activities should be updated once a year with a renewed action plan, long-term aims and objectives should be updated every 2-3 years.

In case of national cultural policy, it is important that the strategy would not be seen merely as Ministry of Culture document. It must be a common agreement of a Government or Parliament, which brings together relevant activities of all related ministries and public institutions, including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Regional Affairs, Ministry of Foreign affairs and many others.

Road to impact starts from clear priorities, SMART (that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) objectives and action plan which is equipped with resources.

How do you know if you have achieved results? If your objectives are rather routine activities (planning, developing, changing), then you will never be able to clearly measure the impact. Objectives should be phrased as outcomes and equipped with indicators. As a museum, you might say your aim is to increase the visibility of museum and engage more audiences, you might measure this by number of visitors, number of exhibitions and programmes, and turnover from ticket sales. Your aim for the next 4 years might be to reach 100 000 visitors and earn 25% more income from tickets than today. As a government, your aim could be making cultural heritage available and accessible to wider public through digitalisation, your indicator in this case could be percentage of digitized cultural heritage objects in museums. In both examples the goals are clear and with indicators it is possible to assess the results after the end of strategy period.

Ideally, the reporting is done publicly and regularly. For example, in Estonia, the Government collects every year from all the ministries overview of implementing the cultural policy and the Minister of Culture makes an annual “state of the cultural policy” speech in front of the parliament. The results are discussed in newspapers and television, people can actively debate and propose changes and additions to next year’s priorities. This helps to keep cultural policy at the centre stage and creates accountability for the government to deliver the results.  

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