Digital Strategy: An Annotated Reading List
A reading list for organisations that want to do more with digital media
This reading list is part of our Digital Strategy for Museums Guide.
Strategy, Digital Strategy and Lean Start-Up
Developing any substantial digital programme involves elements of strategy and innovation; both subjects that repay study. Innovation is particularly interesting because so much has been learned over the last two decades and the new approaches are radically different (and much better) than traditional methods.
Lean Start-Up is the generic name for a widely adopted modern approach to innovation, particularly innovation of digital products and services.
Here is our list of essential resources:
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy | The Difference and Why it Matters by Richard Rumelt (on Amazon.com)
The best general book on strategy. Full of trenchant observations and useful insights. Any work on digital strategy could do worse than begin with Rumelt's definition of strategy as 'a cohesive response to an important challenge'.
Digital Strategy (Wikipedia article)
An article with multiple issues, but thought-provoking nevertheless.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank (on Amazon.com)
The original lean start-up guide.
Blank's key recommendation is to start any innovation programme with a systematic exploration of customer needs and behaviour (customer development) undertaken in parallel with early lightweight product development.
For this initial 'start-up' stage, traditional siloed work assignments are unhelpful and should be abandoned in favour of a dedicated cross-disciplinary team working together across the whole programme. Elaborate business plans and formal job titles should also be avoided until the new operation has been thoroughly tested in the field.
I read this book after a brutal experience developing an unsuccessful online start-up. Reading it showed me how far we had gone wrong. It felt like a kick in the guts.
Best to read it before embarking on any substantial digital initiative and before you have a chance to repeat my mistakes. It may save you a great deal of pain.
The author, successful entrepreneur Steve Blank, is an inspirational writer and teacher. He maintains an active web presence at www.steveblank.com.
Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz (on Amazon.com)
If the lean start-up mantra is 'build-measure-learn-repeat' then a guide that helps you work out how and what to measure must be a key text. This book is the bomb. Every page is useful.
Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? by Michael Schrage (HBR ebook)
A new way of thinking about innovation based on the idea that great new ventures change the people who become their customers. Particularly relevant for organisations like museums that have the potential to open people's hearts and minds to new possibilities. I recommended this paper to more people in 2016 than any other.
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (on Amazon.com)
Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (online resource)
Map your digital operation on a systematic canvas diagram. Look for opportunities and explore its strengths and weaknesses. The Business Model Canvas is simple to use in workshops with teams of people including non-specialists. Highly effective. The Business Model Generation book explains and presents the canvas.
Internet Trends 2016 by Mary Meeker (online resource)
Our 'go to' resource for a general survey of developments in the global world of digital. Authoritative and insightful. Produced every year as an extended slide deck. Always a useful for a strategic review of the digital landscape.