Sustaining and Embedding Innovations - wiki JISC Sustaining and Embedding Innovations / Institutional change management techniques
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Institutional change management techniques

There is a myth that:

 

Great innovation project + great project management + great outputs = instant take-up by the institution/sector

 

The missing piece of the equation is change management – which is essentially about managing the human aspects of embedding innovation projects into an institution.

 

If change is well managed, then the following can result:

 

  • Staff understand the rationale for adopting the project.
  • Resistance and barriers are identified and dealt with.
  • Senior level buy-in.
  • Communications are segmented and targeted at different audiences, addressing questions and issues that they are concerned about.
  • Momentum is built throughout the institution.
  • Changes are less painful.
  • The probability of sustaining and embedding projects is increased.
  • The institution builds a record of successful change.

 

The sector has developed and utilised a range of change management approaches and techniques. Examples are as follows:

 

The Higher Education Academy “Change Academy"

 

The Higher Education Academy “Change Academy” is organised through a partnership between the Higher Education Academy and Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and was developed to help institutions to develop major change initiatives which can be focused on almost any area of change required by an institution e.g. student induction, new ICT systems. It is a year-long process that includes development opportunities for team leaders, an on-going support network and a four-day residential providing a creative environment in which the whole team can focus on planning and developing strategies for lasting change. 

 

The University of Hertfordshire CABLE process (Change Academy for Blended Learning Enhancement)

The University of Hertfordshire Blended Leaning Unit developed a customised version of the Higher Education Academy Change Academy as part of their Higher Education Academy Pathfinder programme - to work with faculties/schools (i.e. a local model) to embed blended learning techniques in their plans and processes. The CABLE process aims to develop effective teams across disciplines and focuses on the strategic interests and needs of the participating faculties/schools. It is academic-led, includes student involvement and has the following objectives:

 

  • Achieve transformative and sustainable change in blended learning.
  • Develop partnerships between Schools and the Blended Learning Unit.
  • Develop future change agents.
  • Develop a toolkit for future sustainable change projects.
  • Develop a curriculum design toolkit. 

 

As with the Higher Education Academy Change Academy, the CABLE process is a year-long process and involves the development of teams, team leaders and individuals as well as team meetings and 2-day residential events where issues and ideas are explored and Critical Friends support the teams in achieving focus, reframing issues, action planning and testing that project plans are robust.

In the JISC Innovating e-Learning Conference 2010, Professor Graham Galbraith (Deputy Vice-Chancellor) and Dr Jon Alltree (Director of Learning and Teaching) explored the transformational journey of the University of Hertfordshire and the strategic deployment of technology to support learning in their session “Developing a culture of blended learning innovation”. Professor Galbraith explained the University of Hertfordshire’s approach to change management and the importance of working in partnership with academic schools, working with teams, involving students and responding to local challenges.  They built on previously firm foundations in technology supported learning and the successful introduction of the Managed Learning Environment (MLE) combining this with the vision, drive and support of senior management in the form of the Vice Chancellor and target setting to develop their Blended Learning Unit (BLU). In developing their culture of blended learning innovation they set about reducing barriers, focusing instead on curriculum design and innovation, drawing on practising teachers and using teaching and learning principles to engage staff as well as running awareness raising campaigns.  You can view the recording of Graham and Jons’ session and download the presentation.

 

The Higher Education Academy Enhancement Programmes

The Higher Education Academy Enhancement programmes are similarly modelled on the Higher Education Academy Change Academy, but are specific to the enhancement of teaching, learning and assessment. Currently, there are three enhancement programmes:

  • Welsh Enhancement (Gwella): Funded and supported by HEFCW, this programme is a continuation of the HEFCE funded Benchmarking and Pathfinder Programme. All Welsh institutions are currently involved in the programme which focuses on technology enhanced learning.
  • Enhancement Academy (Institutional): This programme builds on the Change Academy model and involves teams from institutions working on specific Enhancing Learning through Technology (ELT) related change management projects at an institutional level.
  • Discipline-focused Enhancement Academy:  Building on the Enhancement Academy model, the Academy ran a complementary Discipline-focused Learning Technology Enhancement programme supported by the Subject Centres.

 

JISC infoNet Change Management Simulation

JISC infoNet supports the UK post-compulsory education sector in change management with a simulation tool that has been developed by the Insead Management School. The computerised tool is used in a workshop run by JISC infoNet and aims to equip participants with the knowledge, tools and techniques necessary to implement change whilst minimising the risk of failure of the organisation to fully adopt new systems and processes. Key workshop objectives are to help participants to:

  • understand the need to work within existing culture(s).
  • be able to describe the stages of a transition.
  • understand the need for different approaches at the various stages.
  • understand how individuals react in different ways to change.
  • appreciate the roles of formal and informal networks for communication.
  • understand the need for a resilient approach to implementing change.

 

Participants in the simulation have to act as “change agents” in order to get as many adopters as possible in relation to the introduction of a new technology system.  The workshops are supported by a Change Management infoKit.

 

 

A word has to be said about measuring the impact and effectiveness of change management techniques. This is often not undertaken as an exercise – e.g. through evaluation or benchmarking exercises – often due to the fact that real impact takes time to be achieved and this time can go beyond the duration of funded programmes. It is an issue that needs to be addressed by both institutions and funding agencies. Institutions can take a continuous improvement cyclic approach to change management which is predicated on evaluation/benchmarking.