Supporting diversity in higher education

I was delighted to have the opportunity recently to support a student-run event at the University of Bristol, designed to promote diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The ‘Diversity in STEM’ event, which took place on Wednesday 7th March, attracted students, potential students and members of academic staff from across the UK and sought to identify ways to overcome barriers to progression and to increase awareness of career opportunities for STEM graduates. Continue reading

The truth about prioritisation

It’s a sad fact of life that, as mere mortals, we’re distressingly unable to control the passage of time. We can try all the tricks in the book, but the seconds just keep ticking by. Yet while we can’t control time, we do have complete control over how we spend it. The key is to choose carefully what we do and how we do it. The key is to prioritise. Continue reading

Supporting our communities

It is my firm view that companies should operate ethically and that they should seek to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.

And I put my money where my mouth is (quite literally) by donating each year 10% of Sockmonkey’s pre-tax profits to charities who are doing great work in the communities where I live and work.

I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to support two amazing organisations in 2017: the Farming Community Network and the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team. Continue reading

Alignment: The key to achieving your goals

The late computer science professor (and author of the truly excellent ‘Last Lecture‘) hit the nail on the head when he said that the way to achieve your goals is to chip away at them a little bit every single day.

And as we get into the new year, I suspect that you – like me – have a shiny, brand new list of goals ready to go. But in the hustle and bustle of doing all the things we need to do in a given 24-hour period, it’s all too easy to let our longer-term aspirations slide.

There is, however, a surefire way of making sure that we do indeed spend our days working towards the achievement of our longer-term aims. And it’s called alignment. Continue reading

Efficiency in a student-focused world

With universities coming under growing pressure to justify how they use their resources, efficiency is back in the spotlight. But the focus will increasingly be on how well institutions meet the needs of their students, while accommodating growing cost pressures.

Our universities operate in a challenging environment. Expectations of funders and fee-paying students are rising. Competition from traditional and alternative providers is becoming more intense. And costs continue to increase. All of which mean that institutions need to do ever more with the resources at their disposal.


When it comes to improving efficiency, our universities have already made great strides. They have streamlined processes and eliminated waste. They have improved space utilisation and reduced energy consumption. They have shared services, pooled assets and co-located professional services staff. And they have become lean, mean procurement machines.

This is all great news, but it is no longer enough. Continue reading