Hannah Rudman

Cultural policy expert on digital and organisational development

About me

NAME: Hannah Rudman

CITY: Edinburgh




ACTION/SECTOR: Culture and Sport

POSITION: Director

ORGANIZATION: Rudman Consulting

My Background and Career

Hannah has 10 GCSEs and 4 A’ levels from Nottinghamshire comprehensive schools; a first class BA (Hons) in Drama; a distinction MRes in Drama and IT; and a Diploma in Computer Science  Her life-long passion for exploring the digitally cutting edge was initiated by her engagement in contemporary theatre and music, and fascination with emerging technologies from a young age.
Hannah has overseen the strategic digital development of over 100 cultural, arts and heritage sector organisations, across all operational and business models through creating and delivering national development and change programmes such as AmbITion (http://getambition.com). She has also written The AmbITion Approach (http://getambition.com/learn/toolkit/) - an online hands-on approach and toolkit for creative organisations, practices and individuals looking to self-lead their own digital strategy developments. 

Hannah advises on national and international cultural policy around digital and organisational development and speaks on the topic internationally. She is an Associate of Mission Models Money; a Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing; and is on the board of macrobert.

Hannah also runs a series of projects branded Envirodigital (http;//www.envirodigital.com). Envirodigital helped to establish the National Theatre Wales as a virtual organisation; co-produced an award winning (Best Technical Production, Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland) virtual theatre project Five Minute Theatre with National Theatre Scotland in 2011 (http://www.fiveminutetheatre.com); and is currently developing a CO2 Savings Account app.

My Experience

Economic: Had to learn to risk time to develop potential work.
Had to become confident at selling my services and expertise at the right price for a viable profitable business model.

Social: I’m a gay women, and faced discrimination when I held jobs early in my career. Now, I have the choice/opportunity to walk away from situations, and I’m taking my own risks if I choose to take a stand about a situation, without impacting an employer.

Opportunities: Digitisation, and the way that it has allowed me to establish national development and change projects without needing to (always) travel Working in the digital sector during the dotcom boom/bust – learning curves were high Working in the cultural sector over the past 15 years – as the definition of creative industries has emerged and as public investment has been stable

Threats: I was made redundant from my first 2 jobs following university as the youngest and last to join employee. This meant I never felt a job was more secure than being self employed, and so I turned self employed at 26. Lately the shrinking of the levels of public investment in the creative industries, which has pushed me to consider my product/offer for different sectors

My Skills

Adaptation is the best defence that humankind has to economic, ecological, and social chaos. This looks to now be a constant, so entrepreneurship is a key 21st century skill I have.

Entrepreneurial activity can lead to stronger partnerships and collaborations; new markets and audiences and products; but can also destroy traditional business models, so having a sensitivity to disrupted business models, and working out how the traditional models can strengthen the entrepreneurial ones is important.

Not over-stretching operations and finances: entrepreneuring more and more products too early can cause lack of focus to achieve success. I’m aiming to be a serial entrepreneur, not a massively prolific one!

Entrepreneurial ideas and innovations need the infrastructure and supply chain and mindset of the audience/customer/client to be ready/almost ready for them. Are they? If not, who will educate and prepare them – you? A key skill is being able to look at the bigger picture, and working out if you need to influence, or even create other parts of the picture to get your initial idea off the ground. 

Hints & Tips

Did some thing give you inspiration for your project / action / enterprise?
I’m driven to help organisations develop and adapt to changes that threaten them so that they can go from being good to GREAT.In the creative industries, digitisation has impacted business models, product, and audiences exponentially. In every sector, SME are affected by the economic, ecological, and social difficulties we currently find impacting the globe. People dislike change, and so need hearts and minds convinced; practical and pragmatic opportunities to develop capabilities and capacities; and networks and collaborators with whom they can confidently collaborate and innovate towards new behaviour.

Suggestions and advice to give to women:

Research your potential market and know who are the other players and what your USP is.
Solve a need or a problem. It might be a need or problem people/companies don’t know they have yet. Find out what they are by researching and asking people.
If there’s no profit in the idea (economic, social, cultural, environmental), its not a business. Map it out, build a prototype, model the product/service and business model!
Network, preferably with people outside your sector, and especially with women – you’ll find they’re happier to pass on contacts, make connections and collaborations.
Invite criticism early – knowing what you need to change or justify is extremely useful.

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