Annual operating plan 2022/23 - Director's foreword

Our subject matter is planet Earth and life on planet Earth. And we know that life is under threat.

Recent decades have seen a catastrophic acceleration in the rate of biodiversity loss. We appear to be heading for only the sixth mass extinction event in over three billion years of life on Earth, and for the first time an extinction event caused by the activities of a single species: humanity. Our response has been to move from passive observers and chroniclers of the decline to active participants in the struggle to reverse biodiversity loss before it is too late. We also know that action, solutions and impact are best created on the basis of hope - that there is a future where both people and the planet thrive.

Against this backdrop, we set out our vision and strategy to 2031, at the heart of which is the task of creating advocates for the planet: individuals who feel sufficiently informed, confident and motivated to make wise decisions, and to use their influence and actions to make a positive difference to our global future.

Five strategic priorities underly the Museum's activities:

The operating plan is intended to set out the detailed activities we will deliver that year across each of these five strategic priorities, and the metrics and goals we use to measure our delivery. We conduct formal quarterly delivery reviews to assess progress against this plan. Every year there is a vast amount of activity that takes place across the Museum so to help guide the organisation we use two primary mechanisms to help focus our efforts on the most critical areas: Page 0 metrics and the Critical Few.

Page 0 Metrics

Page 0 metrics provide specific, quantifiable (typically quarterly) targets to help measure and track our progress against the most important measures of our established 'business as usual' activities. For 2022/23 our Page 0 metrics focus on:

  • Caring for the collections
  • Preparing the collections for the Thames Valley Science Park move
  • Recovering our physical visitor numbers
  • Conducting world-class scientific research
  • Continuing to make progress on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Making progress on our sustainability goals around net zero and nature positive
  • Delivering an operating surplus to support our development activity

The Critical Few

The Critical Few are the small numbers of most important transformational efforts across the Museum that require focused attention, in particular from our Executive leadership. Typically, these will be projects or programmes that are new or novel, have a high degree of complexity, or which require extensive cross-Museum collaboration. Within each section of the operating plan, the Critical Few deliverables are the (small number) that are classified as 'critical'. Other goals are classified 'must' or 'should'. The quarterly reviews are always an opportunity to bring forward new deliverables.

For 2022/23 our Critical Few (with specific quarterly goals captured in each deliverable) are:

(A) Keeping the NHM science and digitisation centre programme on track

(B) Breaking ground on the Urban Nature Project

(C) Progressing the Hall of Human Biology redevelopment

(D) Launching and embedding our Science Themes

(E) Publishing our first annual report of the State of the World's Biodiversity

(F) Commencing the Energy Centre redevelopment

(G) Progressing the RECODE program to replace the collections management system

(H) Rolling out our new Behaviours Framework