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Sustaining and embedding innovations - a Good Practice Guide by Mind Map: Sustaining and embedding
innovations - a Good Practice
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Sustaining and embedding innovations - a Good Practice Guide


Key areas this guide covers

Overview of sustaining and embedding innovations

Changing people and culture

Embedding or aligning with strategies, processes, systems, initiatives and services

Creating tools and resources

Creating appropriate organisational structures

Becoming more business-like


Rational for this guide

A changing economic and funding climate will require HEIs and FECs to seek out opportunities to more fully exploit investment of time and resources in innovation projects,

There has been too much re-inventing of the wheel in innovation projects across the sector.

There is increasing focus, at sector, institution and faculty levels, on return on investment and cost/benefits in relation to innovation projects.

The differences between innovation and invention

Invention is about the generation of new ideas e.g. new ways of teaching and learning.

Innovation is all about the practical application of new inventions.

What do we mean by sustainability and embedding?

Embedding innovation project goals and outcomes into:, People, Strategies, processes, systems, initiatives and services, Tools and resources

Maintaining and further enhancing the innovation project goals and outcomes

Changing people and culture

Key tips

Develop a vision of how well your project will be embedded in 3-5 years’ time and then identify the enablers and barriers to make the vision happen.

Develop a communications and stakeholder engagement strategy and plan with a prime goal of raising the aspirations of staff and students and motivating them to adopt innovations.

A communications and engagement plan should aim to convey key simple messages following the “WHY – WHAT – WHEN – WHO - HOW” principles.

Consider using change management techniques developed by the sector to overcome people and culture issues.

Motivate staff and students to adopt innovations by providing case studies, backed up by strong evidence and testimonials from students and staff.

Use Web2/new media (in a “blended” approach) to effectively communicate with stakeholders and to get over key messages e.g. using podcasts, vidcasts and screencasts.

Develop Communities of Practice (CoP) or Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to sustain dialogue and build expertise and resources – but these must be “owned” by the community.

Ensure senior managers are targeted with the communications plan (e.g. PVCs, Deans and Heads of Schools) – these people are resource/budget holders and can advise on how best to embed innovations within institutional structures and processes.

Visioning and scenario planning

Developing a communications and stakeholder engagement strategy and plan

Change management techniques

Developing communities of practice

Using Web2 applications to support communities of practice

Embedding or aligning with strategies, processes, systems, initiatives and services

Aligning with institutional goals, drivers and needs

Embedding in strategies

Embedding in processes, systems, initiatives and services

Developing a sustainability and embedding plan

Key tips

Innovations are far more likely to be adopted throughout an institution if they can support specific institutional or faculty/school goals, needs and drivers.

Innovation project teams should work with the “owners” of specific institutional strategies to embed their innovations within the strategies.

Innovations can be embedded into processes, systems and services, such as QA/QE and curriculum design, review and approval processes, ICT systems to support curriculum design, review and approval and curriculum design/review support services.

Innovation projects should consider developing a sustainability and embedding plan – to align with the communications and stakeholder engagement plan.

Creating tools and resources

Options for tools and resources

Tips for producing usable, relevant and accessible resources

The Design Studio

Maintaining the currency of tools and resources

Key tips

The tools and resources developed should meet the needs of different stakeholders - time and care should ba allocataed to understanding what these needs are

Effort should be applied to turning project “outputs” into “products” that are usable, relevant and accessible by different stakeholder groups.

Web2 and multimedia techniques should be adopted appropriately when developing tools and resources.

Case studies should be made available in varying levels of detail, with in-depth studies looking at issues such as cost/benefits, implementation issues, critical success factors, risks, contexts in which the innovations will work etc.

A balance must be achieved between providing useful information and information overload.

Ideally, tools and resources should be adopted and “owned” by communities of practice at institutional or sector levels.

The currency of tools and resources needs to be maintained.

Creating appropriate organisational structures

Adopting an institutional Continuous Improvement approach

Who is responsible for influencing and facilitating change

Communities of practice for change agents/champions

Encouraging true partnership working

Key tips

Institutions should consider setting individual project innovations within a context of overall (& cyclic) continuous Improvement – where there is a focus on addressing key institutional/local goals, drivers and needs (the “big picture”), embedding and “joining up” innovations and reviewing/reflecting on the impact of the innovations – akin to action research.

Innovation project teams do not always have the motivation or wherewithal to take responsibility for embedding innovations, therefore project teams need to transfer “ownership” of their innovations.

Change agents (or champions) in a devolved model can take on ownership and responsibility for facilitating uptake of innovations.

Heads of faculties/schools are key stakeholders in regards to embedding innovations as they can set direction and allocate time and resource – innovation project teams therefore need to convince and motivate them to adopt their innovations.

Communities of Practice need to be set up in an institution to support networking of change agents/champions in order to facilitate sharing of ideas, knowledge and expertise between faculties and schools.

Service departments, such as e-learning, blended learning, MIS departments should consider adopting a true “partnership” approach with academics in order to facilitate the uptake of innovations. This partnership approach should also apply to inter-working between service departments, where “turf wars” can block co-operative working.

Becoming more business-like

Focusing on impact and returns of investment

Evaluating costs/benefits

Working with key influencers and budget holders

IPR and licensing

"Business" opportunities

Key tips

There is a growing need to respond to the new economic climate and pressures from senior management to align innovation projects with institutional/local goals, drivers and needs.

Project teams will increasingly be required to evidence measureable impact and positive cost/benefits of their innovation projects.

Project teams need to work with key influencers and budget holders on planning the embedding of their projects.

Project teams should develop a sustainability and embedding plan – to align with the communications and engagement plan.

Project teams should consider potential business opportunities that arise from their innovations projects.

JISC have developed an impact calculator for evaluating the efficiency of change initiatives.


JISC innovation e-Learning 2010 Online Conference (23 - 26 November 2010)

Further info and resources

Open approaches