On planners and planning

I had the honour last week of being invited to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. It was a great event. And I met some fantastic people. But it was the amount I learned in two short days that astounded me. Continue reading

VFM: It’s about the value, not the money

With higher education institutions in England being required to report annually on value for money, universities need to raise their game when talking about what they do and how well they do it.

As funding gets tighter and competition for students becomes more intense, our higher education institutions are coming under increasing pressure to justify the public investment that they receive. So it is now more important than ever that we are able to explain clearly and effectively what we do and how we use the funding entrusted to us to create lasting value. Continue reading

The executive summary: A reader’s plea

I love executive summaries. I like to read as many things as possible, but don’t always have as much time as I’d like. So a good executive summary allows me to get the gist of what something’s about, quickly and without fuss. And depending on what I find, I can then digest the key points and move on, grab a cup of tea and read the whole thing, or throw whatever it is in the recycling without feeling that I’m missing anything important.

So it pains me greatly when I come across an executive summary that doesn’t cut the mustard. And quite recently, that’s been happening a lot. Continue reading

Telling better stories

A while back, I had the good fortune to visit the vast cave complex at Lascaux in southwestern France. But these are no ordinary caves. They are famed throughout the world for their beautiful display of paleolithic cave paintings, created by our ancestors over 17,000 years ago. These paintings tell the stories of what life was life. How these early humans lived. How they survived. And how they died. Continue reading