Innovation Implementation: Next Steps
To start this Strategic Innovation Initiative, Larry Stauffer will chair a small steering committee composed of Rick Edgeman, Deb Manning, Ron Town, and James Grossman. Dr. Stauffer has done this type of work for many years through the university’s TechHelp program. This committee will identify any additional needed members to the steering team and establish the committee structure.
The vision, scope, and direction should be complete and a small number of initial projects started by the end of the fall semester. Educational opportunities for other units should also be identified and training for continuous improvement coordinated with the Creating a Respectful Culture Innovation Initiative.
Lead: Larry Stauffer, Associate Dean, College of Engineering
For many years, public higher education has been asked to do more with a declining proportional share of the state budget. During that same time, the needs of society for the products of higher education have increased. These trends are unlikely to change in the near term. As such, we need to look for ways to increase revenue in creative ways, increase the quality and efficiency of our work, and eliminate nonessential activities. Through more effective use of our limited resources, we will be better able to meet today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.
This Strategic Innovation Initiative focuses on realizing the vision of a university whose people, processes, and technology combine to provide efficient and effective practices, leading to competitive advantages and a sustainable work environment. The work environment and quality of work are improved, providing excellent results for internal and external stakeholders.
Through the development of a culture of continuous improvement, the time and energy people expend each day is of clear value. There is minimal waste, so people have the real sense that they do what really matters and contributes to the overall success of the university.
Processes are based on what makes sense, not on what has evolved through years of “work-arounds” and personal preferences. In some cases, this requires a complete redesign of current processes. In other cases, this is a simple matter of standardizing similar approaches to the same process. The desired end result is clear, efficient, and effective processes that add value each time they are executed.
Technology is implemented in support of the work, not as a driver of activity. By designing effective processes and ensuring people have the skills and resources to execute those processes, the use of technology can improve on sound processes and assist employees by making the work more straightforward and easier to complete.
With the daily pressures on faculty, staff, and students, it is critical that their work be value-added. Using complex or inefficient processes not only wastes their time and increases their frustration level, but it also costs the university money. In addition, it reduces our ability to provide consistent, quality services.