Innovation, community, sustainability

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A presentation to seed an open discussion held at Victoria University, Melbourne, November 2011

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  • Innovation, community, sustainability

    1. 1. Communities, Innovation and Sustainability The activities of the UKOLN Innovation Support Centre http://isc.ukoln.ac.uk/ Paul Walk (p.walk@ukoln.ac.uk)
    2. 2. introducing the UKOLN ISC
    3. 3. the UKOLN Innovation Support Centre (ISC)• funded by JISC with mixture of ‘core’ and project funding UK Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills• supporting (technical) innovation in the UK H/FE sectors • helping HEIs become more innovative • helping HEIs exploit the JISC innovation • helping HEIs exploit the innovation of other HEIs Higher Eduction Funding Council for England (HEFCE)• moving from a project-based operation to a more service-based one• very interested in sustainability, but narrowing the focus Joint Information Systems Committee to continuity as a design goal for the new organisation (JISC)• a core staff, with extensive use of external consultants UKOLN Innovation Support Centre (UKOLN ISC)
    4. 4. core staff (16 and growing)• ISC Exec • Content & Expertise • Paul Walk (Director) • Thom Bunting • Brian Kelly • Talat Chaudhri • Sally Lewis • Julian Cheal • Mark Dewey• Admin • Kora Golub (on maternity leave) • Ruth Burt • Brian Kelly • Sarah Hext • Mahendra Mahey • Jackie Lawton • Rosemary Russell • Sally Lewis • Adrian Stevenson • Stephanie Taylor• Events • Emma Tonkin • Natasha Bishop • Paul Walk • Michelle Smith • Richard Waller
    5. 5. ISC fundamentals• priority is to establish: • service and continuity • core staff (developing roles and relationships which are relatively stable) • taking a longer view than the end of the next project or even programme • reliability • an organisation which is trusted to look after important things • close JISC programme support • specific programmes and cross-programme support • programme design • a clear understanding of how innovation can and should be supported in the further and higher education sectors
    6. 6. planning, monitoring, reporting
    7. 7. areas of work
    8. 8. direct programme support• programme design• consultation & technical advice• synthesis of outputs• examples: • Discovery - a major resource discovery effort in the UK based on aggregating the metadata records of libraries, museums and archives • RIM • euroCRIS Affiliate
    9. 9. cross-programme support• workshops to allow the funder to reach communities of practice for consultation• examples: • DevCSI • Metadata Forum • a forum for those people supporting eResearch who deal with metadata management as part of their duties - a community of practice
    10. 10. horizon scanning & pattern recognition• JISC Observatory • observing: listening for the weak signals from the communities we work with • sense-making: looking for patterns • synthesising: drawing conclusions and making recommendations for investment • communicating the results back to the community
    11. 11. evidence gathering• collecting evidence of usage of technologies and standards• justifying investment• making opaque rationales more explicit - “this is why we recommend that you use standard x”
    12. 12. supporting communities practicing innovation• events, events, events• DevCSI - developers• Metadata Forum - practitioners in metadata management• IWMW - Institutional Web Managers
    13. 13. infrastructure to support innovation
    14. 14. incubation• an idea we are developing as part of the Innovation Zone for the UK RepositoryNet work• software which is ahead of its time needs to be looked after and kept alive before it is more widely adopted• good software often is developed in advance of large-scale demand• Apache Foundation offer an interesting model of requirements for incubation• am very interested in views/ideas/opinions about this
    15. 15. advice, synthesis, guidance, reference• ongoing (mainly technical) advice and guidance to the JISC and to those organisations with which the JISC has a relationship• synthesis of programme outputs• help with road-mapping• dissemination to the wider community• Ariadne• Technical Foundations Website
    16. 16. standards• UKOLN ISC staff represent UK HE sector on several standards bodies/ boards/groups• so many engagements that I’m reviewing this now• important examples would include: • W3C • International DOI Foundation • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative • SWORD• we also manage external agents - e.g. on the ORCID TAG
    17. 17. technical innovation (UKOLN Labs)• important to retain a capacity to do technical innovation ‘in house’• developed some tools to aid our support for people developing application profiles of metadata standards
    18. 18. components, activities and outputs R&D, Future-looking Various dev projects Tech DC Usage Study Evidence Innovation JISC labs.ukoln.ac.uk Ac. Bookmarks Gathering & Horizon Observatory Scanning Org identifiers Incubator ISKB RDTF RepUK Technical Technical InfrastructureFuture Repositories SWORD Advisory Foundations Standards Bodies OARR Tech Foundations Site RIM webpages Metadata Forum Tech Foundations Advocacy & Synthesis & Communities DevCSIMetadata webpages Reference Engagement Web Focus Briefing papers Practice, Embedding
    19. 19. some observations
    20. 20. COP are increasingly important to our innovationsupport mission• where programmes are ultimately directed at institutions, our cross- programme support has largely evolved into support for communities of practice • developers, metadata wranglers, information professionals • participants from HEIs, public bodies, commercial suppliers
    21. 21. direct engagement at all levels• such communities can make parts of our eResearch ‘ecosystem’ accessible to our funders• this kind of activity can give a strategic voice to important constituents who are not often heard otherwise• the reverse is also true - funders can more directly reach ‘hidden’ constituents, influencing their world-view & shaping their capabilities
    22. 22. working through COP can be a very cost effectiveto increase capacity in the sector• using DevCSI as an example: • £85K training delivered in 2 days of a ~£60K 4 day event at dev8D• the COP provides a staff development opportunity for developers which is attractive to their institutional managers• the UKOLN ISC’s involvement in the COP support work means that we can create capacity building opportunities which empower the COP
    23. 23. a different emphasis for the UKOLN ISCfrom this.... ...to this Joint Information Systems Joint Information Systems Committee Committee (JISC) (JISC) Funds Funds Funds Funds Funds Higher & Further Education InstitutionsHigher Education Community Supports UKOLN ISC UKOLN ISC Supports Commercial Institution of service provider Practice or product vendor Other public bodies (e.g. British Library)
    24. 24. some open questions....
    25. 25. questions• engagement with communities of practice is a good way to encourage, capture and share innovation • but is it sustainable?• how far should funders go in directly sustaining communities of practice? • governance, measuring impact, demonstrating ROI?• can we benefit from international collaboration to support COP?• when should we seek: • to embed into institutions? • to invest in national centres? • to allow a community of practice to ‘take ownership’?

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