Creative Universities Conference


This presentation was at my first real life 'academic' conference. It was small and cliquey but my supervisor was there so I was supported. I attended the conference on her recommendation and presented on my research with a 'creative' twist to make it fit the conference theme - which in the end, I think I did badly. It shows my devotion to Integral and Causal Layered Analysis that I inflicted these methods on attendees - now I have seen sense and shifted Integral at lest to the analysis back room of the PhD rather than as overt as they were here. I got the small group to do some participating and they were great, tolerating my strange requests. It was a struggle for me though because I'd come down with food poisoning about four hours before my presentation. Thankfully, I made it through the hour with no mishaps and spent the rest of the day in my room.


University Management: A Strategic Orphan


Tertiary Education Management Conference (Adelaide)September 2012


The environment in which universities exist has been changing rapidly for some years now and university managers are living that change every day.  In particular, the way in which learning and research experiences are designed and delivered in under continuing pressure from ‘disrupting’ forces pushing in on institutions and the staff who work in them.

These disruptive forces are connected and can’t be considered in isolation – educational technology, leadership shifts, a mobile revolution, content curation, new ways of working and the rise of social are but some of these forces already affecting university management today.

While there are clear signals that these forces will continue to strengthen and change the shape and form of the future university, the roles of academics and the student learning experience, scant attention is being paid to those who manage universities, and the changes they will need to make to their roles to facilitate the delivery of new forms of learning and research in the not too far distant future.

The starting point in this session – for the purposes of discussion and pushing beyond status-quo thinking – is that the current way we manage universities is no longer useful. It is time to identify what we need to leave behind, what we need to take into new models of working and how we can take action today to begin to build those new models. University managers stand at a tipping point – they can choose to dive in to change flowing rapidly in front of them and work to shape and influence the outcomes or they can continue to tweak and band-aid systems and ways of operating that are failing. Will the university manager be an obsolete role or will it be a role truly integrated into the DNA of the future university?

The question we will start to answer is around how university management needs to change, rather than whether change is necessary. We are well beyond the latter question, and if we push aside, argue against and/or  resist this disruptive change, we are wasting time and energy.

This session will be interactive, and deliberately futures focused. Starting from the challenges and disrupting forces we see today, we will explore ideas for new models of university management which will be needed to deal with the impact of change over the next 10 years.

This stance asks participants to come to the workshop ready to genuinely challenge their own thinking and contribute to a wide ranging discussion about re-designing their jobs for themselves and those who follow them.

One of the fundamental underpinning assumptions of the session is that each of us can start to make small changes in our individual work environments that can build over time and contribute to the design of  the new ways of working that we will need in the future.

Keywords: leadership, strategy, management, future

[slideshare id=15759879&w=427&h=356&sc=no]

Thinking about University Futures (Presentation)


The Creative University Conference (Hamilton, New Zealand)August 2012


The changing face of contemporary capitalism suggests a new form of university will  be needed in the future, and that brings with it the need to re-think the university's role in society and the economy. The university has been quite adept at shifting its organisational form in the past to respond to changes in its external environment. However, universities as a focus for knowledge discovery and dissemination is a role under challenge from many things, including new forms of digital delivery, new demands for open and personalised learning and research, and the democratization of knowledge. Being creative has new and emerging meanings today, and is a capability being developed in many ways across many organisations and industries.

The creative university and all that infers for the changing university-economy nexus requires not only a shifting of individual and collective perspectives about what the university is today and what its future might be in a complex and changing environment, but also a shift in views about how the university is organised, its purpose and how work gets done to fulfil that purpose. For universities and people who work in them, therefore, the biggest challenge to responding to new forms of education and creativity has more to do with the way they think rather than the ability to change structures, curricula, delivery modes or internal processes.

How and what people think about change now being experienced is determining decisions about strategy, structures and systems. It is these decisions that influence the university's capacity and readiness to be able to shift its shape once more to respond to the transformation now occurring around education and research, and to redesign its role in the creative economy that is emerging.

This paper will explore how people in universities are responding to these external drivers of change around the creative university from three perspectives: first, how the work gets done (the collective culture); second, organisational interactions (observed behaviour/habits); and third, the power of worldviews (internal and individual understandings/assumptions/beliefs about the university and its role in society). The paper will investigate how these perspectives connect and collide with each other in the context of the economy/creativity context, and how those perspectives generate different actions and decisions influencing the future of the university.

[slideshare id=15759993&w=427&h=356&sc=no]