Managing innovation from the ground up: Aligning core principles with institutional practices
Innovation in higher education often involves change, but for many people, that is an unnerving prospect. “UBTech is a conference about technology, but technology is only half the answer,” says Karlyn Borysenko, leadership content director at Eduventures, who will co-present with Eduventures analyst Brian Fleming in a featured session at UBTech 2014. “You need people that want to implement that technology and execute it well to meet its intended goals.”
How do you effectively manage change so your staff is happy, doing good work and getting the outcomes you want? “We often find that change is stalled in higher education because leaders begin with technology and not with values and vision,” says Fleming. “There is a great deal of confusion about technology that is always in flux. People ask, ‘Why are we doing this?’, ‘What is the purpose of it?’”
Many staffers have been in their positions a long time, he adds. “If you were to talk with the front-line office staff at any university, these people do love their jobs and they care deeply about the students. Those are their values, both institutionally and personally.”
Effective change management happens when you meet those people on their terms and focus on aligning the benefits that technology will provide with what they value as individuals. “You have to position a particular technology as something that can help them better care about their students, and help them achieve their goals and priorities,” says Borysenko. “They’ll see it as a much less scary prospect that this change is happening around them. If they feel good about that, they’ll feel good about the big changes happening on campus. Schools often take a top-down approach to change. But if you can take the bottom up, people-driven approach, you will be much more successful in the long run.”
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