Sustaining and Embedding Innovations - wiki JISC Sustaining and Embedding Innovations / Simple approaches to change
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Simple approaches to change

It is always a good idea to consider simple approaches to changing people and culture such as:


Mentors and buddies

Early adopters of innovations can be used as mentors or buddies to cascade knowledge to other staff. It can sometimes be a good idea to build this concept into funded programmes/projects or micro-funding schemes i.e. it would be a condition of funding that innovators would transfer their knowledge gained to other staff in the form of mentoring them on similar projects.


Local champions     

Many institutions adopt the “local champion” model whereby a member of staff is allocated a percentage of their time within an academic department to motivate, guide and support staff to change. Some institutions appoint a learning technologist in such a role – others prefer to appoint an actual member of the local academic staff on the basis that they are more likely to be listened to by other members of academic staff. When adopting such a model, the institution, as a whole, can gain added-value from such champions by ensuring that lessons learned from different faculties, schools and departments are captured, distilled and published back to the community.


Student mentors

A number of universities adopt a student mentor approach, where students are co-opted (and paid) to mentor staff in the use of technology. This approach has its limitations and there is a danger of students being used as cheap technical support, however many institutions report considerable benefits from adopting such an approach e.g. the Student-Staff Mentoring project at the University of Hertfordshire Business School.


External personnel

External personnel can bring positive influences and perspectives into departments and project groups. It is quite common, for instance, for innovation project groups to include externals on steering groups – where these members can be chosen to reflect potential future beneficiaries of project outputs and hence contribute towards the sustainability agenda. Other options are project secondments, staff peer reviewing, industry representatives and visiting readers/professors.