Friday, November 9, 2012

driving innovation

Northeastern is doing it right. More precisely, they are kicking the heads in of every mid-tier private on the east coast that's still dragging their feet when it comes to online UG programming. They went from 98 to the top 50 in nine years. If that's not getting the attention of executive leadership, then we're really in sorry shape at the top.

For UC, we need to think about our work within the confines of the University as activity in various zones of invention (new credentials, non-degree opportunities, etc.). We have the ability to work at the margins, and yet we're still hampered by process, protocol, people and inertia. Separation is our strength, but we also need alignment with all of the players and moving parts. We have support, but executive influence is fleeting and diffused.

Our disruptive innovations must be cost-effective, price-appealing, and easy to access. We need to attract new and previously un-tapped audiences in our regional catchment area. How many people in New York have some college and no degree? How many people in CNY have some college and no degree?

We need to think about UC as a separate but distinct unit -- unencumbered by all of the baggage and bulls**t. We need to be market responsive -- to transform the assets, resources, and programs we have into sustainable and revenue-positive activities. Alignment with our core competencies. Alignment with University leadership and their vision. Do we know what that vision is beyond the oft-cited white paper?

Our biggest obstacles: an unwillingness on the part of the larger University to change, and a lack of a coherent and consistent executive vision.

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