If you just want to organise the world a little more efficiently, you'll get away with just a business plan. But if you want to change the world, leave your artistic mark, make a cultural impact or have ever used the word transform, then nothing short of a manifesto will do.
Manifestos are open letters of intent that are fundamental and defining. They terminate the past and create a vision of new worlds. They demand attention, inspire and galvanise communities around us and knowingly antagonise others. They provoke action.
Writing a manifesto is not easy, but it is a true act of leadership. After all, it’s hard for people to follow you if they’re not sure where you are headed. Manifestos leave them in no doubt. They can and should trigger internal debate of the healthiest kind. They can and should trigger external debate of the most exciting kind.
Manifestos are at the heart of MHM's organisational development work. We've supported and mentored dozens of leaders, across art forms and in different countries, to help them formulate, articulate and communicate their manifestos. The impact on their organisations is often profound and energising.
Euan Murdoch, CEO of Chamber Music New Zealand, felt that the organisational change process we facilitated them through with Move on Up "reconnected us with our vocation". Simon Ferry, the Artistic Director of Centrepoint Theatre said: "It revolutionised and revitalised our company. We feel like a bottle of Fanta, given an almighty shake, with the cap ready to blow!" Jan Tapdrup, Director of Denmark's MuseRum, said that “writing a manifesto challenged us to radically re-imagine our museum for the 21st century".
For the organisations we work with, their manifesto becomes the bedrock upon which we help them to build their Strategy Tree, Rules for Living, Evidence of Impact and Brand DNA. These organisations become truly vision-led and audience focused.