Thursday, 3 July 2014

Innovation, Ideascale and a pet cow

I'm trying to catch as much of the SSG conference as possible while I'm here, and yesterday I managed to see Gareth Edwards talk about how they are handling innovation at the University of Surrey.

He began by posing the question, What does innovation mean to us? The conclusion was that it was solving problems with new ideas in response to external drivers such as changing technology and student expectations. It's something we should all want to do and we should be encouraging our staff to.

One the things they tried was giving some staff a 20% policy for two months where providing the day job was under control they could work in innovative projects with colleagues. This came up with some excellent small improvements. But didn't prove to be scaleable across the department.
They decided to set up an ideas board using idea management software and have implemented Ideascale, which is what we have been using in our Information Commons to collect ideas from students, and we are hoping to roll it out further.
Their experience came up with a number of lessons:
Get the commitment of management
Encourage staff to be involved
When you launch it to the department - explain it,  sell it, get participation.
Emphasise that failure IS an option.
Early adopters play a big role. Cultivate them.
Consider having a facilitator to keep up the tempo
Work out how to deliver stuff - its no good collecting good ideas if you do nothing with them
Use gamification - rewards, points etc to encourage people.

A really good talk, and some good pointers for when we roll ideascale out further.

I also had to give my Petcha Kucha talk yesterday  - surprisingly for someone who enjoys presenting and talking I wasn't particularly looking forward to it. The rigid structure of slides moving automatically after 20 seconds I found difficult. Anyway, it seemed to go OK, apart from a stumble over a word on the first slide! I was last on in the day, so gave what a hope was a reasonably
entertaining look at my life story in pictures and lessons learned. But they won't mean a lot without the preceding slides ;-) Oh, and I cheated on the format..... 

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