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Recorder's Notes for The San Diego Natural History Museum
Strategic Planning Session #4

January 15, 2002

Core Challenges | Programs | Exhibits | Research | Management/Leadership | Funding | Others

Attendees: Mr. Richard Benard, Ms. Darcy C. Bingham, Ms. Pam Bruder, Mr. Richard Bundy, Dr. Paisley Cato, Ms. Charlotte Chandler, Ms. Dale Clark, Dr. Tom Deméré, Ms. Denise Moreno Ducheny, Dr. Iris Engstrand, Dr. Anne S. Fege, Mr. Steve Gautereaux, Dr. Michael W. Hager, Mr. Enrique Hambleton, Ms. Ann Laddon, Mr. Steven P. McDonald, Mr. Thomas A. Page, Mr. Richard J. Roncaglia, Mr. Robert Sharp, Ms. Ruth Shelly, Mr. Bill Trumpfheller, Ms. Ann White, Ms. Delle Willett

Session #4 began at 8:35. Ms. Chandler greeted everyone wishing all a Happy New Year and said she was looking forward to the continuation of the strategic planning.

Dr. Hager continued, saying that 2001 was a good year. The Museum opened, fund-raising was good and projects were on target, and that today this session represented the most important one of the strategic part of the planning process. Dr. Hager said, "Leadership is making sure the ladder you're climbing is against the right wall." This is the "leadership day." He said there was likely good news to be announced at a later time and said that the SPT members need not feel restrained by budget and funding constraints. He compared this point in time of the Museum to the earlier strategic planning process in 1992 and said that was what brought the Museum to where it is today.

Dr. Hager introduced the "Economic & Demographic Data Representing the San Diego Region" prepared for the Museum by Campbell Mithun. Dr. Hager also introduced an analysis done by Ms. Willet regarding the results of the ArtsMarket visitor survey. Dr. Hager mentioned other research data for the Task Forces in developing their KRAs titled "Conservation Organizations Qualitative Research;" "Education Professionals Qualitative Research;" "Minority Community Leaders Qualitative Research;" "Latino, Asian & African American Qualitative Research" also prepared by Campbell Mithun. There is a much larger store of secondary research materials should anyone need details of the main demographic reports. Ms. Maryann Beck, Dr. Hager's assistant, can provide assistance in loaning or providing these materials.

Mr. Smith reminded the SPT members of earlier reports on ten or so research efforts available to assist in developing KRAs. The concept for the day's work was "think big and creatively." Mr. Smith addressed the Plan for Planning, "Part IV. Where we want to go and how we're going to get there together" on the agenda. He said, "The process is as important as the plan" and that, as the process evolves, renewed statements of the Mission and Vision will be finalized. Dr. Hager reminded the group to use sticky notes to add their comments at anytime.

Graphics were displayed with definitions of Mission and Vision. Graphics for KRA definitions and some examples were also put up.

Mr. Smith shared that at the December 6th Museum Board Meeting the members had breakout groups and drafted KRAs and Core Challenges. Dr. Hager reviewed and provided a handout of their suggestions.

Dr. Hager presented the Core Challenges deduced from Session #3 participants' comments. The handout "Guideline for KRA Task Force Breakout Groups" was distributed to guide thinking for breakout groups. Mr. Smith advised the groups to address related topics under each Core Challenge as they develop KRAs. These topics may well become Strategies. The members were encouraged to be open-ended and to consider if more than one KRA was needed and to develop more strategies if warranted. Co-chairs were assigned for each Task Force, comprised of one staff person and one Board member. The rest of the SPT members selected the Task Force in which they would participate. A model for writing KRA statements previously distributed was referred to, titled "Full Circle--The Natural History Museum For the 21st Century."

The Core Challenges assigned to the Task Forces, and the KRAs which came from their discussion, were presented after Task Forces' meetings:


CORE CHALLENGE #1A - We do not have outreach programs that serve our entire region

Challenges identified by the SPT that led to the above core challenge:

  • Reaching the audience that is the highest growth group, but least connected at present
  • Quality
  • Relevant to a broad constituency
  • Understanding demographics and adapting to the diversity of potential funders
  • Staying relevant with school core curriculum
  • Technology: changing and maintaining advancement
  • Lack of access
  • Develop credible institution with Baja California
  • Broader constituency vs. constituencies that have impact on mission enhancement

Co-Chairs: Ms. Shelly/Ms. Chandler (with Dr. Hager, Dr. Fege, Dr. Hambleton, Mr. Trumpfheller, Mr. Page)

Key Result Area
Position the Museum as a center and laboratory to create and deliver high quality programs throughout the greater peninsular California region. New Delivery Systems resulting from discussion:

  • Collaboration
  • Merger/acquisition
  • Affiliation
  • Creation
  • Advocacy
  • Technology
  • Business ventures

Potential Objectives/Strategies:

  • Create online professional naturalist training courses.
  • Engage in political advocacy for non-partisan issues.
  • Complete Tijuana Watershed CD project.
  • Create ecotourism businesses.
  • Connect Girl and Boy Scouts with innovative programs.
  • Partner with Teton Science School and others.
  • Sponsor an environmental products home show.
  • Create culturally specific exhibits/programs to attract diverse audiences (co-sponsored with cultural organizations).
  • Tie to other Mediterranean regions of the world.
  • Create "laboratory school."
  • Create museum school (museum training program).
  • Establish affiliate institutions in Mexico.
  • Consider merger/acquisition of other museums (U.S. and Mexico).
  • Create family camp/outdoor education center.
  • Install permanent exhibits within the space of other museums in the region.
  • Generate content for television outreach.
  • Create professional training for research, collections, curatorial, exhibits, and economics of ecology.
  • Expand outreach to regional school systems (U.S. and Mexico).
  • Consider need for and feasibility of market research.
  • Mission mandate for public environmental education.
  • Environmental education for business and decision makers.
  • Take programs to distant locations--both physical "stuff" and telecommunications.

CORE CHALLENGE #1B - We do not have adequate exhibits

Challenges identified by the SPT that led to the above core challenge:

  • Establish strong permanent exhibits and accompanying programs
  • Quality
  • Relevant to a broad constituency
  • Static to interactive and multidimensional
  • Integrate science with "carnival aspects" of business
  • Exciting, timely, exhibits
  • Technology: changing and maintaining advancement
  • Staying relevant with school core curriculum

Co-Chairs: Ms. Shelly/Ms. Ducheny/Mr. Bundy (with Dr. Hager, Mr. Sharp, Ms. Clark)

Key Result Area

Create an engaging, relevant, memorable exhibit experience founded on the real thing and inspiring action.

Potential Objectives/Strategies:

  1. Plan and install new permanent exhibits (possibly two objectives).
  2. Create a hands-on, family-based discovery room.
  3. Provide innovative systematic displays for the serious naturalist.
  4. Become recognized as a respected creator of high quality natural history traveling exhibitions for the binational region.
  5. Create exhibits that respond to seasonal/episodic natural events.
  6. Create exhibits that provide an ongoing look behind the scenes.
  7. Become a vital resource for schools, with exhibits that address standards so well, students have to come!


CORE CHALLENGE #2 - We do not have adequate research teams and culture

Challenges identified by the SPT that led to the above core challenge:

  • No BRCC Head
  • Competitive research practices
  • Quality
  • Fill research positions

Co-Chairs: Dr. Deméré/Ms. White (with Dr. Hager, Ms. Bingham, Dr. Engstrand, Dr. Cato)

Key Result Area

Build and expand our research culture both internally and externally to strengthen and capitalize on our scientific niche.

Potential Objectives/Strategies:

I. Establish a clear identity of our scientific niche.

  • Determine research priorities and existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • I.D. key partnerships, collaborators and alliances.
  • I.D. potential funding sources.
  • Resolve the competing demands of pure and applied research.

II. Define and develop the infrastructure to support quality research.

  • Determine human and organizational elements.
  • Create data systems and tech support mechanisms for management accessibility and research.
  • Improve physical care and management of collections.
  • Secure research facilities and equipment.

III. Establish ourselves as a leading research institution and forum for scientific discussion and cooperation.

  • Develop key partnerships/alliances and collaboration.
  • Increase quality and quantity of publications, research symposia, etc.
  • Secure endowment and funds to support infrastructure.


CORE CHALLENGE #3 - We do not have the management/leadership infrastructure for the future

Challenges identified by the SPT that led to the above core challenge:

  • Management (skilled, flexible, innovative and participatory).
  • Competitive business practices.
  • Quality.
  • Technology: changing and maintaining advancement.
  • Lack of access.
  • Develop credible Mexican institution with Baja California.
  • Keep up with technology and training programs.
  • Use creativity to overcome weaknesses.

Co-chairs: Mr. Benard/Mr. Roncaglia (with Dr. Hager, Ms. Bruder)

Key Result Area

Create management and leadership that is supportive, skilled, innovative, creative, flexible and participatory, to achieve the 2012 Strategic Plan.

Rationale for the KRA:

  1. Strong team now, want to continue leadership efforts.
  2. Management/leadership needs to grow in size and culture for the future.
  3. Growth of institution requires different management/leadership structure.
  4. Allow us to seize the opportunities that the Museum has in the 2012 Plan
  5. Necessary to keep current technologically for business purposes and delivery of programs.
  6. Cannot stay (be) isolated--opportunities for business collaborations are great.
  7. Recognize competition in local market.
  8. Board is one of best tools for marketing and advocacy.

Potential Objectives/Strategies:

  • Increase effectiveness and importance of Board Resources Committee in recruiting board members.
  • Complete management team by filling vacant positions.
  • Build management structure and team to carry out 2012 Strategic Plan.
  • Develop the physical infrastructure required to carry out 2012 Strategic Plan.
  • Increase board involvement regarding external issues affecting the institution (advocacy).
  • Develop partnership strategy for Mexican museum joint venture and regional joint ventures and satellites and be open to acquisitions.
  • Volunteers (added by Dr. Hager).


CORE CHALLENGE #4 - We do not have a stable funding base

Challenges identified by the SPT that led to the above core challenge:

  • Stable funding.
  • Increase endowment to cover core operational budget.
  • Quality.
  • Financial stability.
  • Endowment to fund operations.
  • Create non-traditional funding sources.

Co-chairs: Mr. McDonald/Ms. Laddon (with Ms. Willett)

Key Result Area

Enhance financial stability.

Potential Objectives/Strategies:

  • Embark on endowment campaign to raise $_______ by 2012.
  • Increase contributions to fund annual operations ($1 year or % of budget).
  • Operate with balanced budget.
  • Provide necessary human resources for implementation of Strategic Plan.
  • Enhance traditional funding sources.
    • Store
    • Membership
    • Programs
    • Admission
    • Facility usage
    • Sponsorships/underwriting
    • Exhibit meeting
    • Create traveling exhibits
  • Secure necessary funding for future capital needs
    • Permanent exhibits
    • Technology
  • Increase Mexican financial support
  • Increase sub-regional support (if there is a "satellite" strategy)
    • Escondido (North County)
    • El Cajon (East County)
    • Mexicali
    • El Centro (Imperial County)
  • Create non-traditional funding sources
    • Franchised merchandise
      (e.g. Valentien collection, Indigenous Baja goods, Ms. Frizzle)
    • Eco-tourism
    • Teacher CEU
    • Distance learning/videos/CDs
  • Enhance government funding - identify politicians and constituencies to fund: Education Research
  • Capital (e.g. exhibits)


Suggested other Key Result Area candidates:

  • Increase public awareness
    Strengthen Museum "Brand" [Name?]
        Broad public image
        Focused target groups
        Strengthen awareness of community impact/importance
  • Become a gateway destination for the binational region.
  • Marketing
        Need to elevate its importance
        Knowledge of customers
        Lack of knowledge as to what we are and what we do
        Apply the science of marketing and the marketing of science to all areas

Mr. Smith led the discussion of which of the above might be strategies rather than KRAs:

Ms. Shelly felt there was a need for some sort of "identity KRA." Rather than a marketing strategy for each KRA, they could be merged. She gave funding as an example.

Mr. Hambleton said that the tax structure between both countries is limiting. In Mexico you cannot get a tax deduction for contributing to a U.S. program. However, there is a way to structure it to obtain Mexican funding for Mexican projects, not U.S. projects. Ocean Oasis is a good example of a partnership with the Museum and Mexico.

Ms. Bingham asked what the Museum wanted to do in Mexico--kind of project, need for it, how to fund it, what a Mission statement would be for our goal in Mexico.

Ms. Bingham suggested the Mexican component be addressed as a new KRA.

Dr. Fege said building capacity, engagement and involvement in Mexico is important.

Ms. Laddon said the Museum has done good things in Mexico; now there is an opportunity to look at them more strategically.

Dr. Hager made the point that we agreed awhile back that everything we do should include Mexico; therefore, Mexico should be across all KRAs.

Mr. Smith suggested the KRAs be reduced to no more than six and to look at some candidates as possible objectives or strategies.

Dr. Hager referred back to Mexico and said that when trying to get funding for Mexico programs, there was great difficulty for Mexican philanthropists to fund U.S. programs, even if it benefited Mexico. The solution is to get general funding dollars and then share universally in a whole package where each project is funded.

Ms. Bruder said a plan for Mexico is missing and needs to be designed ... cannot deal with Mexico until we know what is involved. She also said funds should not be designated until a plan is completed and felt that Mexico should be a separate KRA.

Mr. Hambleton said the plan for Mexico needs to be articulated.

Ms. Bingham said perhaps a new plan is not needed; instead, maybe it's time to review and integrate our presence in Mexico (as opposed to starting over).

Ms. Cato felt our presence and objective in Mexico was a matter of a leadership position.

Mr. Hambleton said that many things in Mexico and the U.S. are similar in terms of this institution because of the region. The only difference is that the region is in two countries.

Ms. Shelly said she would welcome the combination of outreach and exhibits as a KRA and felt they would become stronger being linked. However, she felt Mexico should be its own KRA because it is not integrated yet--it is more piece-meal.

Dr. Hager said that one thing was missing from the KRA which was volunteers and should be under Management/Leadership.

Mr. Trumpfheller wondered if the Northern part of our region--Santa Barbara through Carlsbad--had been left out of the KRAs.

Mr. Page observed, regarding Mexico, that on one hand we have an integral relationship, and on the other, Mexico is an after-thought.

Dr. Hager said for ten years the Museum has struggled with the relationship with Mexico--sometimes after-thoughts, but lessons were learned. Examples were Probea which is very integrated with what goes on in Mexico, and Ocean Oasis with binational board, funding, rewards. But it is a concept the Museum struggles with.

Mr. Sharp suggested that the Mexico KRA might be to evaluate and ensure that Mexico is an integral, equal partner with the Museum.

Mr. Smith then capsulated the KRAs resulting from the Task Forces:

  1. Position the Museum as a center and laboratory to create and deliver quality programs throughout the greater peninsular California region.
  2. Build and expand our research culture both internally and externally to strengthen and capitalize on our scientific niche.
  3. Create management/leadership that is supportive, skilled, innovative, creative, flexible and participatory to achieve the 2012 Strategic Plan.
  4. Create an engaging, relevant, memorable exhibit experience building on the real thing and inspiring action.
  5. Enhance financial stability.
  6. Marketing/identity.
  7. Mexico.

After discussion it was decided to combine suggested KRAs #1A and #1B as listed above. The agreed upon KRAs and leaders of each are as follows:

  1. Program delivery and outreach and exhibits Ms. Shelly and Ms. Chandler (serving with Dr. Fege, Mr. Bundy, Mr. Page, and Ms. Clark).
  2. Research - Dr. Deméré and Ms. Cato (serving with Ms. White).
  3. Management - Mr. Benard and Ms. Bruder (serving with Ms. Bingham, Mr. Roncaglia and Mr. Gautereaux).
  4. Marketing/Identity - Ms. Willett and Mr. Tom Swanson (serving with Mr. Trumpfheller and Mr. Navarra).
  5. Funding - Ms. Laddon and Mr. Paul Ecke (serving with Mr. Sharp).
  6. Evaluate current efforts with Mexico and establish comprehensive integration - Ms. Ducheny and Dr. Engstrand (serving with Mr. Hambleton, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Jon Rebman, Ms. Doretta Winkleman and Ms. Denise Moreno).

Mr. Smith said there was an opportunity for others to serve on Task Forces. He said that there will be two Task Force Action Planning training workshops which will be two hours (with a Task Force meeting a part of it). Mr. Smith and Ms. Carson will facilitate. Ms. Beck will inform members of the dates for these sessions based on participants' availability.

Mr. Smith referred to a visual for Rationale (which explains why something is a KRA), Objectives, Strategies, Action Plans, and Cost/Benefit Analyses. This information was distributed to be used as a training kit or "roll out" for the Task Forces to follow as they complete their KRAs.

Mr. Smith said that the KRA objectives and strategies are to be completed by the next session on April 23rd, 2002, and hopefully the drafting of Action Plans will be well underway.

The session was adjourned at 3:55 p.m.

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