This edition of Blas brings you up-to-date with a recent refresh of The Way Forward. It explains the growing significance of innovation and gives you details of our forthcoming Innovation Fast Forward Festival. It also explains some of the projects that came out of last year’s The Way Forward: Making it Happen sessions and explains a key change in this year’s workshops.
The refresh of The Way Forward reflects changes in the external environment. None of the high level targets we set ourselves relating to the performance of the University have changed. What has changed, in the new refreshed publication, is a focus on innovation.
Cardiff University has long had a thriving innovation culture. The Cardiff Innovation System, now featured in The Way Forward, builds on this. It matches a multi-million pound investment with a vision to give our innovation activities parity of esteem with our teaching and research. Working in partnership with key stakeholders and wider society, we will be a magnet for enterprise, creativity and innovation for the city-region. The revised strategy sets out how we intend to become a powerful engine for growth and for tackling the policy, scientific and economic challenges of the future.
The Way Forward takes us to 2017 and I am pleased with the progress we are making.
The Way Forward: Making it Happen workshops have been a crucial part of this progress. Once a month, throughout 2013/14, a member of University Executive Board (UEB) hosted a two-day workshop. It was an initiative I introduced to help staff engage with our strategic vision. I led the first session with all UEB members taking part, and subsequent sessions were held on the same pattern.
I realise that days away from the office are a luxury, but I do think they can serve a useful purpose from time to time. In fact the feedback we received from every session was that the ‘time out’ was valued and beneficial. The sessions provided the time and space for staff to look atThe Way Forward, examine the four themes, relate them to their areas of work and understand the impact on other areas. I know that all my UEB colleagues enjoyed facilitating the sessions, and participants appreciated meeting people from across the University. The chance to get to know colleagues from areas that they normally had no contact with – whether academic or professional – was seen as particularly valuable.
To date just over 300 members of staff have been on the programme. Since the feedback has been so positive, we have decided to run a similar programme during 2014/15. The big difference this year is that you’re all invited to apply if you want to. Last year Heads of Colleges and Heads of Professional Service divisions were asked to nominate staff; this year you get to nominate yourself. So if you didn’t attend a Making it Happen workshop last year, and would like to, do please sign up.
The first session will be in November and again we plan to run a session every month. Each one will be led by a member of UEB with a similar format and mix of academic and professional service staff. We will again examine our four key themes and allow participants to discuss how the strategic direction affects you and the areas you work in. There will be a few new things to keep us on our toes too.
I hope this information on the many projects being taken forward encourages you to sign up and make a difference.
I look forward to leading a session myself, and hope to see you there.
Professor Colin Riordan