Understanding value

Higher education in the UK is looking for better ways to demonstrate the value that it creates for its students and for society as a whole. Advance HE (formerly the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) has been working with a pilot group of universities to explore how integrated thinking and reporting can help. And I’ve had the honour of drawing out some of the insights that the project has yielded so far. Continue reading

Engaging with stakeholders

There are some words that I dislike greatly, but that I find myself using because I can’t think of a better alternative. ‘Incentivise’ is one. ‘Disbenefits’ is another. But my all-time least favourite is far more commonplace: ‘stakeholders’. Yet while I cringe inwardly just typing the word, the concept is an important one. Indeed, your understanding of your organisation’s stakeholders could mean the difference between success and failure. Continue reading

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