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Leading Innovation at Kelvingrove (B)

5 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010  

Jeanne Liedtka

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This case series explores the leadership story of director Mark O'Neill as he oversees a major innovation initiative at Kelvingrove, Scotland's most visited museum. The A case describes his background, philosophy, and the actions he takes over a period of more than a decade to win the support of both staff and funders for the innovation. The B case examines the reaction of the public and art critics. O'Neill arrives at Kelvingrove to find an institution in turmoil after a series of dramatic changes that have alienated visitors and funders alike. Utilizing an innovative style of management that he describes as maze behavior, he succeeds in moving the traditionally discipline-bound, curator-dominated museum into a cross-disciplinary, visitor-oriented experience. He does this by engaging the curators in creating exhibits based on stories rather than professional classification schemes such as paintings, geology, etc., using an approach that includes a deep understanding of his audience and the imaginative use of forms. He also gains the community's political and funding support to accomplish his goals.

Keywords: nonprofit organizations, strategic planning, innovation

Suggested Citation

Liedtka, Jeanne, Leading Innovation at Kelvingrove (B). Darden Case No. UVA-S-0163. Available at SSRN:

Jeanne Liedtka (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-1404 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)


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