Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sustaining Innovation and Enterprise Architecture

The last month has been quiet, mainly due to holidays and attending workshops that have resulted in giving me long to do lists! The month started with a workshop here at Staffordshire University, Sustaining Innovation via Organisational Development Workshop. This was a great day that resulted in some useful discussion around how we engage Senior Management in supporting innovation and embedding it into the day to day. We had guest speakers from Australia, Manchester and Plymouth (among others). I tweeted heavily on the event (and others I have attended) and to read them and others on Enable check out Twapper Keeper Useful thoughts from the day included

  • Mark Stubbs rethinking what we do with the curriculum. Asking fundamental questions, why is approval process face to face?

  • interesting question from @markstiles about institutional values and data: secretive? open? risk-taker? risk-averse?

  • Enterprise Architecture as a model for managing innovation but role of effective governance also critical

  • USQ's Australian Digital Futures Institute - yes please! Can we have one?

  • Strategy & structure need to be scrutinised & regularly realigned

After this event it was back to interviewing faculties about their involvement in working with External Examiners. We have learnt a lot with these interviews and discovered extra stakeholders involved that had not been considered during the review. We are now planning an extra round of interviews to get them engaged. The best way we have done this is with three of us attending each meeting, one specialist from QIS, our Technical Manager to roughly bring together a model as we talk and me, to make a narrative note of the processes and issues faced by stakeholders. This seems to work well with each of our different perspectives opening up more questions about what is happening in faculties at the moment and what they would like to see happen. Everyone (so far) has been pleased that something is happening to support the work taken in this area.

This week I have attended the Enterprise Architecture Workshop in Birmingham. A useful blog post has been written on this by John Townslend (, who usefully has blogged about the management stream that ran at the same time as the practitioner session I attended. The hands on session was very useful, with discussions about whether there is a right way to model, with a practical example that we could model using Archi ( I was able to use this time to talk to our technical manager about my first attempt at modelling for one of our SURF colleges, which resulted in me re-modelling more explicitly and getting me up early on the second day to continue working on it before the sessions. You can certainly find yourself losing hours to working on models if you're not careful! The second day focused on the future of the group, what did we want over the next year, where did we want it held and did we see a future for the group to become a professional practitioners group as it grows in experience and numbers. There was also discussion around supporting the development of a foundation programme to support those who are just entering the EA arena, there were a lot of takers for the programme, including wanting to get Senior Management to get engaged with the programme so that they understood terms etc used by staff - although not have them attend the full 4 days. At the moment I am preparing for next weeks visit to Flordia for the EISTA 2010 conference where I am talking about managing strategic change in HE. I will let you know how that goes!