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.

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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

On life, work and running

Those of you who know me personally will be aware that I’m a bit of a runner. Now, I’d be the first to admit that I’m not a very good runner. And I’m certainly not a very fast runner. But I do like to lace up my trainers and get outside for a trundle through the countryside. Running is a part of my life. And it has taught me a great deal. Not just about running, but about life as well. Continue reading

It’s what we do that counts

“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. And I for one am not going to argue with him. Not just because he’s, well, Aristotle. But because he’s absolutely right. We can have all the hopes and aspirations that we want. But if we don’t do something tangible to achieve them, our dreams are destined to remain just that. Continue reading

Things you can control… and things you can’t

I was chatting with a client the other day and he asked me how I go about winning new business. How, he wanted to know, do I secure a steady stream of projects to keep me busy and to help me pay the bills? A fairly simple question, surely. But my answer was most definitely not the one that he was expecting. And, to be honest, it wasn’t the one I was expecting, either. 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