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Embedding technology innovation in practice

April 26th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

At the Jisc Institutional Innovation workshop last week we distributed a hand out on Institutional support criteria projects. Steve Warburton produced the handout based on a talk by Gwen van der Velden from the University of Bath  at the NGTiP conference in February entitled “Engaging the sector: An institutional perspective of raising awareness to embedding new and emerging technologies“. It provided valuable insights into the process of institutional embedding from a managerial perspective. We used the handout in a workshop about what the Jisc calls Benefits Realisation )Valorisation in European jargon. Benefits realsiation is about the dissemination, institional emebedding and cross instiotutional transfer of projects. The questions Gwen raised are pertinent to the BR programme and provide a rubric against which to evaluate elements of BR proposals but also may be of interest for a wider audience. The key issues that Gwen raised are detailed below:

Where is the buy-in? Where are you embedding your technology/innovation/practice?

  • Is it technology or practice?
  • Are you planning change or replacement?
  • Who initiates change?
  • Embedding in what? E.g. financial systems, staff practice (takes time)
  • Institutional ability to change depends on the nature of the institution and its’ ethos e.g. devolved, centralised,
  • Change agents – who drives change? Are you targeting the correct stakeholders?

When does embedding work?

  • Getting buy-in – sell the argument – give the tools for the need to change to be passed on
  • User engagement: user and provider
  • Embedding solutions, not enhancements
  • Create patronage
  • User-friendly presentation
  • Leverage institutional reputation – what are the competitors using?

Drivers for embracing technology

  • Students and incoming staff
  • Strategic agendas
  • Credible results
  • Technology wise institutional managers
  • Risky times call for risky solutions
  • Depending on middle managers – are not the key change agents (they will be the implementers) – go senior – see it as staff development

Convincing your stakeholders

  • What is your strapline?
  • Make sure you are not solving non-existent problems – need to define the problem
  • Why would I support you?
  • What problem you solve for you me?
  • What do managers want to hear – the management discourse – which is not the same as Web2.0 discourse 🙂

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