Pandemic, Innovation and the Opera
I hope when we all break from this pandemic and return to normal that we don’t forget the innovation we have all experienced. There are many meetings that should stay on Zoom. Speed to market should be constantly improving. We should be willing to try more ideas and experiment with new techniques and concepts, and we constantly need to rethink our paradigms of service.
We need to remember from this pandemic that you need to hyper-focus on the needs, wants and goals of your customer/donor/patient/stakeholder first. It should be the No. 1 node on your chart for determining new innovation. I read an article in the Washington Post about how an opera decided not to remain silent during the pandemic. They decided to forgo the closed concert hall and brought the opera home in a box.
Opera may have needed to reinvent itself anyway in this new digital world, but one found a way to offer an idea that was music to the ears of fans. On Site Opera in New York was already experimenting with taking the opera to the people. The pandemic forced its hand even more.
Each person who signed up received a new diary in the mail with different songs that you could listen to via QR codes. As writer Michael Andor Brodeur put it, the secret is “if you can treat the exile from the stage as a form of liberation, experimenting with ways to bring audiences and music together again in real spaces,” you can have an experience that will grow the market.
Brodeur told of an LA Opera production that typically would bring in 1,100 people in a two-night, sold-out theater. Once it moved online, more than 22,000 watched. Others who estimated 30,000 people a year attending live productions have more than 200,000 people attending online and outdoor programming. And that is just for opera.
The organizations that are learning from the pandemic, not waiting to get back to normal, are the organizations of the future — fueled by revolution from chaos. The times have changed, accelerated by the pandemic. There is no normal, only innovation.
Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.