Venture Project Update: Confidence + Control = Happiness

Although it is easy to get caught up in all of the tools and other tech oriented goodies that will make Venture a leading arts oriented platform, there is simply no denying the one component tying it all together is the Solution Academy, Venture’s exclusive member’s only support and training community. After all, what’s the point of having something like Venture’s Creative Control Engine (CCE) if users don’t receive comprehensive and robust support to help them maximize that control?

As a consultant, I’ve seen the same scenario time and time again; when you’re actively working with clients on a project and offering regular support, things go swimmingly. But once the project concludes, clients may need  additional assistance but they don’t have the budget. If they only had that continuous support net, they would eventually cross a threshold of user confidence necessary for success and take greater control over their work environment.

Unfortunately, shrinking budgets and cutbacks in staff aren’t making arts manager’s jobs any easier. We all know times are tough, expectations for support are constantly evolving and demand is higher than ever. Consequently, it became clear early in Venture’s visioning stage that members need a comprehensive support structure in place for the duration of their subscription. No wasting precious time with scripted support calls and outdated knowledge-base content; frankly, arts administrators deserve to be treated like professionals and granted the same tools and support service their for-profit counterparts enjoy. Solution Academy is being uniquely designed to fulfill these requirements.

Solution Academy allows members to instantly access knowledge-base content, browse the support forum to find existing solutions or ask new questions, and watch training videos on-demand; all of which are designed to make members’ jobs easier. Solution Academy goes far beyond traditional support forum models by focusing on helping subscribers use Venture’s CCE to turn creative ideas into actionable results so they spend less time asking “how do I fix this” and more time asking “what’s the best way I can make this idea work?”

Another fun facet of this component is the social design promotes a safe environment where professionals can exchange ideas and network. It connects members with an expanding community of arts professionals and those with technical know-how via an easy to use interface designed to connect users with solutions quickly, effectively, and socially. Solution Academy uses the power of social driven communities to make certain no one gets lost in the crowd and everyone feels like an individual.

Ultimately, Solution Academy provides a consistent and transparent comprehensive service and training experience. I’ll be working on the design with my development team at BlueprintDS and the initial users to help refine details, but at the very least it will provide nothing less than:

Unlimited, 24/7 access lets users find answers fast.

No access bottlenecks; removing user caps allow member organizations to maximize staff productivity and training by enrolling as many team members as they wish.

A “user first” design provides a fast, secure, yet simple interface making it easy for members to customize accounts, access support channels, and navigate forum threads.

Nickel-and-diming gets cut off at the knees; there are no access limits so it doesn’t matter if a user asks one or 100 questions.

Incentive based training courses reward organizations with annual fee discounts for maximizing staff members’ Venture oriented skills and capabilities (ETA Q4, 2010).

An on-demand library of training videos and tutorials (“tuts” in geek-speak) provide instruction when users want and based on their existing knowledge level.

Expert content planning support takes the mystery and apprehension out of the migration process and site architecture so that groups of all budget size and experience are ensured their site is efficient, maximizes usability, and contains compelling content (say goodbye to branding and interaction design incongruity!).

An ever expanding repository of best practice and creative use resources ensures members are always in the know via tools and methods to optimize revenue performance.

Additional details will be posted as they develop but in the meantime, stop by Venture’s website and sign up for the official site launch email notice.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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