Advancing enterprise activities

Category: Deriving impact from universities

Section 14: An ecosystem approach to deriving impact

In advancing an ecosystem approach, we briefly revisit a number of concepts at the framework’s core, firstly the unflinching guiding lights that are a university’s ‘north stars’.  These are the external constants that guide a university’s activities, and which present as the constantly changing nature of workforces, the unrelenting need to innovate, and the incessant demand for societal benefit. Read More

Section 13: Implementation Model – Purposeful Activities

Without suitable stocks of organisational character, a university will fall short in any endeavour to derive impact. An important aspect of organisational character, therefore, involves the considered development of an implementation model which can be a means to a level of coherence and coordination underwritten by a human drive. We have seen in sections 10-12 how this nurtures an ability to sense change and adapt, how it guides the allocation of expertise to the tasks thrown up by turbulent times, and how it forges key values that guide behaviour and actions of staff. And through this process, the vital role of a university’s people has crystalised. Arguably, this is nowhere more pertinent than when decisions around strategy and implementation are at hand. At such moments in time, it is the array of talented, knowledgeable, innovative and experienced people within universities that determines how universities choose what to do (strategy), and how they get that job done (implementation). Read More

Section 12: Implementation Model – Values and Behaviours

In this section, we recognise the need for a university to build values and associate behaviour so that its people have a clear understanding of what is required of them. Cognisant of the decision-making properties that all members of staff possess, and their capacity to act on these properties, we embark on a layer by layer process to create a framework which can be used to embed and instil true values within and across an organisation that align with the goal to benefit society. While this section leans heavily on the work of previous sections in the series, it starts with a new and brief discussion of the concept of values. Read More

Section 11: Implementation Model – People and Teams

Teams of very different people are brought together to deliver innovation, new programs and ground-breaking research projects, drawing from the ‘organising functions’ of a university to get the job done. But how are the teams formed? What are the circumstances that guide or disrupt team selection? How does this fit into the broader, complex university structure? Building on the concepts of core processes and critical proficiencies, this section responds to these questions by introducing and installing a conceptual distinction into the deriving impact framework. It is this key distinction between roles and positions that underpins the potential for refreshed perspectives and effective agility that emerges in this section. To set the scene, we first reconsider the landscape in which today’s university must manage and find its way. Read More

Section 10: Implementation Model – Leadership and Decision-making Frameworks

In previous sections on engagement and operating models, this series took two of the three key steps toward organisational character. In this section, we embark on step three in the form of a four-part implementation model which addresses the questions and issues raised above by framing how a university acts as an organisation to deliver great socio-economic benefits. Read More

Section 9: Operating Model

Each university incorporates its own unique and complex system in its endeavour to deliver value. For larger institutions with a broad or diverse range of elements and disciplines, the complexity may be multiplied significantly. An operating model is a complicated, multidimensional concept and this series does not cover all of the aspects involved. Rather, with a singular focus on the university sector, the following definition will be utilised: A description of the processes, systems and functions required to deliver value to stakeholders. Read More

Section 8: Channels for Engagement

In the previous section of this series we considered the activities through which universities ensure relevant and up-to-date information is always available to guide key decisions. To this end we framed and established the case for ‘purposeful engagement’ – focusing internal and external engagement activities around key University objectives and therefore the purposes for engagement. In this section we give important thought to the support mechanisms for these engagement activities which can only be brought about through suitable avenues. These are the lines of connection, always live, always open, within the university complex; the myriad tributaries that support the flow of valuable information and expert knowledge as they reach past university perimeters to catchments beyond. Read More

Section 7: Purposeful Engagement

Determining the best ways to maximise societal impact is challenging and for universities operating with constrained resources in increasingly dynamic internal and external environments, this challenge becomes even more difficult. Setting organisational direction in such a climate requires universities to thoroughly understand their underlying assets and the potential societal impact they can deliver. It behoves any university, therefore, to ask itself: ‘What are we doing here? Where exactly are we going with this?’ Read More

Section 6: Determining the Proficiencies

Quite unlike any other social institution, universities are charged with ensuring that the most people possible gain the greatest benefits from their expert knowledge, research capabilities and innovations. It is not a burden to be underestimated or sidestepped in any way; it remains a seminal part of any university’s DNA. The opening five parts of this series have laid out the multidimensional approach required to achieve this goal and derive impact from universities. We have established and framed the need for universities to identify and attract potential partners with whom they can work in addressing societal needs, and we have explored the far-reaching complexities involved in shaping engagements that benefit universities, their prospective partners and our communities. Read More

Section 5: Opportunity Spectrum

In today’s rapidly changing environments, intensifying competitive landscapes and challenged funding models, universities cannot be everything to everyone – it is an impossibility and needs to be recognised as such. Instead, universities must increasingly make judicious and far-seeing choices about the opportunities and possibilities that present. These business decisions address what consumers and markets to chase, what programs, products or services to offer, what partnerships and collaborations to pursue. These are hard decisions which require a clarity of thought about how a wealth of resources at the proverbial fingertips of a university is to be used. Read More