SSBR Institutional Innovation Taxonomy

The Support and Synthesis project is getting down into two grooves of activity. The first is supporting the Phase three, Lifelong Learning projects to produce their outputs and then to realise the benefits more widely. We are contacting and visiting all projects, stirring up assemblies, promoting the “Festival of Assemblies” on 20 October (do get that date in your diaries) and encouraging the uptake of the current call for Benefits Realisation funding. I hope you find our interest informative and developmental and not just a blind nuisance.

The second big area of activity is synthesising the outcomes of phases one and two of the Institutional Innovation Programme. Phase three may notice our inquiries are starting to take on a synthesising character already. How do we make sense of such a big and multi-faceted programme?

We have been developing a taxonomy of institutional innovation for the higher education sector.

This taxonomy is in two broad parts. First, why are things changing; what are the drivers? Second, what, exactly is changing? The first part of the taxonomy – the why – has three parts. The first concerns political and institutional strategies. The second is pragmatic, addressing institutional ICT concerns – it is all very well changing the world but we have 11,000 undergraduates being assessed next week; or similar. The third is programmatic. The JISC Organisational Support (JOS) committee funded the Institutional Innovation Programme in order to achieve efficiencies, develop sustainable solutions, enhance networks, provide strategic leadership and enable development services.

Politically institutions are driven by the wider economy and the currently operating public finance regime. Institutions are driven by quality and governance issues, too, maintaining institutional and individual reputations in the wide community and attending to proxy measures of success in league tables, widening participation targets, and similar. The global economy and globalisation issues are increasingly important, as is the civil mission of the academy to be open to all.

The pragmatics of higher education are seen operating through pedagogies where communities of discipline and assessment are sustained; through R&D programmes; and through “third stream” funding for business and community engagement. Institutions have learning resources and libraries to operate and they have information service infrastructures of great scale and utility. There are many bureaucracies that administer property portfolios, utilities, teaching and other meeting spaces, as well as the functions of employment, admission, studying, examining and accrediting. Energy awareness in the light of our global responsibility for the climate and for reducing our footprint on the earth continues to drive change. New mobile, location-aware, ambient, pervasive computing is helping us to reconfigure the physical and digital spaces inhabited by knowledge. All these represent domains in which Institutional Innovation programmes are working.

At the end of the programme projects can be evaluated in terms of how they address the political, pragmatic and programmatic reasons for their funding. But that still doesn’t say what is changing. We have addressed the why. The what is perhaps even more challenging.

One Response to “SSBR Institutional Innovation Taxonomy”

  1. [...] The Support and Synthesis project is getting down into two grooves of activity. The first is supporting the Phase three, Lifelong Learning projects to produce their outputs and then to realise the benefits more widely. We are contacting and visiting all projects, stirring up assemblies, promoting the “Festival of Assemblies” on 20 October (do get that date in your diaries) and encouraging the uptake of the current call for Benefits Realisation funding…Read more here http://newsletter.inin.jisc-ssbr.net/2010/06/13/in-in-taxonomy/ [...]

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