Kickstarting Innovation in Higher Education (HE)

Observable innovation patterns in Australian HE: where, with who and how innovation happens currently. Given these patterns, how do we better connect IT capability to innovation in our institutions. And looking outside HE: what innovations in innovation can we use to accelerate HE innovation.

Speaker Neil Thelander has spent 15 years in HE: QUT IT Director 11 years, AARNet board for 2 terms, CAUDIT deputy chair and chair, independent management consulting since 2010. Neil has worked with more than 20 uni’s and research institutions supporting CIOs and Chancellery level executives getting value from IT innovation.

Where and how does innovation happen in HE?

The schizophrenia of innovation in HE: from aggressive innovation in research to laggard risk aversion in core admin.

Look across from the living lab to the disciplined engine room – a map for innovation across HE.

Navigate the distinct and counter cultures of innovation in Research, Teaching & Learning and Admin Services. And what about the student experience?

Enable cultural diversity in innovation – a thousand flowers in research, requisite community of practice variety in T&L, risk-managed monoculture in admin, socializing student innovation.

Adapt culturally realistic approaches to innovation across the range.

Large leaps or standing on shoulders? Recognize early follower patterns. Be the second mouse and get the cheese. Find the sweet spot for balancing risk and reward. Track competitive positioning of investments in innovation with comparator institutions, using standard resources and tactical cross-institutional engagement.

Link physical and virtual momentum. New buildings target new research, enriched student experience, enhanced back office collaboration.

Get in on the ground floor for in-built innovation. Align IT management language and culture with capital works for innovation partnership.

Target and enable available discretionary effort to new initiatives wherever they are: new buildings, new research, student experience. Big hairy audacious goals maximise quality and voluntary discretionary effort. Passion and energy galvanize, and gravitas gravitates.

Turn IT from decaying infrastructure into business-enabled evolving toolset. Renovate IT infrastructure as a consequence of business initiatives not as the objective. Use professional deferred maintenance, asset and IT risk management to remove alarmist or technologically obscure justification. Become trusted hands with scarce $. Understand materiality and manage to it.

Be a part of many funded business-led team initiatives, not the isolated leader of a few IT-led ones.

IT strategy is a dangerous mistake. IT is or should be tactical, supporting business strategy. Business outcome outranks IT comfort. Plug into and enable business innovators. Engage the social network of innovators in your organisation.

Demand hard evidence of business engagement in IT infrastructure decisions. Adopt an 80/20 approach to zero budgeting IT infrastructure. Engage business leaders in setting renovation priority. Be a governance impresario. Arrange entertaining theatres for business leadership of IT-enabled innovation.

Grow practical skills for complex collaboration that extend from project to program to product management. Take a leaf from Apple and shift up to user experience.

Innovation looks like change with personal enthusiasm. Personal story about rapid change mistakes and survival.

And finally what can we learn from outside HE?

Hot trends like crowd wisdom, sourcing and funding. Why is Kickstarter so successful and how we can use it or similar ideas for HE?

How are mobile apps being designed, developed and deployed. How do we connect our mobile business ideas to the capacity to deliver.

Neil Thelander
Cloud Juice IT Consulting

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