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Lessons from other sectors in driving culture change. Or, how to stop working the HE way.


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Doing things the 'HE way' is often used as the excuse for accepting inefficient processes, slow uptake on innovation and stubbornly refusing to change. In a relatively small university like Goldsmiths, we consider ourselves more than aware of these shortcomings, which means encouraging an institution to work digital first is a challenge. So, what lessons can be learned from experience in other sectors to help break out of this mindset? Unsurprisingly, a lot. At Goldsmiths we're in the midst of a 'digital transformation', where we're building the foundations for a fundamental, and completely essential, culture change. But, wherever you'd position your organisation in terms of digital uptake, most of these lessons could be applied to the next phase of your digital journey, and give a fresh way to approach those all too familiar challenges. As well as the tips from outside HE, there will also be a celebration of why digital CAN and SHOULD be easier to embrace in HE, and some of the advantages we have as a sector.

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Lessons from other sectors in driving culture change. Or, how to stop working the HE way.

  1. 1. Lessons from other sectors in driving culture change. Or, how to stop working the HE way. Ellen Godwin Digital Manager Goldsmiths, University of London 1
  2. 2. Goldsmiths
  3. 3. Issues 1. Team
  4. 4. Issues 2. Investmen t
  5. 5. Issues 3. “Our website is like our shop window.”
  7. 7. We need changes, and to accept change
  8. 8. UK universities <3 digital transformation • Bath • Imperial • University of the Arts • Portsmouth
  9. 9. Let’s channel 2Pac 1. Get your team (and act) together
  10. 10. Let’s channel 2Pac 2. We changed the way we consult with colleagues (aka, people don’t know what’s good for them)
  11. 11. Project Advisory Panel Yes – Review and feedback No – Sign off!
  12. 12. Need change? (Sadly) you might need a project Projects: •Give focus •Time-based •Chance to experiment •BUT keep projects few & far between. Use them as the change catalyst.
  13. 13. 1. Find new partners
  14. 14. #sfg
  15. 15. “So many HEIs are stuck in their ways (maybe don’t say that) so with a little bit of courage and a good agency on board it shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve something that makes you stand out from the crowd” - Our digital agency
  16. 16. For the health of your website, go outside the HE agency gene pool
  17. 17. 2. Give content the respect it deserves
  18. 18. Start to think like a magazine
  19. 19. 1. Personas 2. Reporting 3. Proofing & style guidelines 4. Governance
  20. 20. 1. Personas
  21. 21. 2. Analytics
  22. 22. 2. Analytics “We definitely look at data quite closely, but the key is not to be a slave to it. I think the best thing is you need to have writers who are equipped with absolutely brilliant, accurate data. And then they can use it as a tool for creativity… So the idea is you look at the number of shares a post has had on the previous day. And that should spark ideas.” Luke Lewis – Buzzfeed UK Editor
  23. 23. 3. Proofing
  24. 24. 4. Governance Translate: Into:
  25. 25. 3. Stop asking everyone for sign off
  26. 26. “Hello web team, See the attached file. Is it possible to have: CMYK 42-13-0-51 for the text and navigation bar CMYK 38-11-0-34 for the column borders (the background that sits outside of the webpage itself)”
  27. 27. Let the shoe designer DESIGN THE SHOES
  28. 28. Issues with accepting difficult changes? 1. Bring everything back to research, data, and your users 2. Bring in external experts
  29. 29. 4. Focus on the small, achievable tasks
  30. 30. “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push - in just the right place - it can be tipped.”
  31. 31. The second of GDS’ ‘Digital by default’ principles:
  33. 33. “The course at Goldsmiths has been one of the greatest personal and professional experiences of my life. It has validated my passions and inspired me to dream big in the future. I learn something every day, and the people in my life say they have never seen me happier or more in touch with my goals and dreams. I can not stress enough how much London, Goldsmiths, my coursemates, my hall mates and the world of Applied Theatre have changed my life for the better.” Theatre and Performance student
  34. 34. UK universities to keep an eye on:
  35. 35. Never forget
  36. 36. Thank you @ellen_godwin