Weeknote 05/2013

This week

  • Had a meal out in Durham to celebrate another friend’s 30th. Cracking day for it too! If you’re ever out in Durham City and the sun is shining try the Half Moon‘s beer garden for a spin.
  • Finally got around to preparing a patch of the garden for some vegetables. Got a few more plants in too. Thinking about putting a couple of cherry trees in.
  • Ran a couple of workshops for a college. They were labelled ‘strategic visioning’ workshops but they were more about exploring the way in which technology can support the working life of the college. The first day focused on a broad view of the college whilst the second day focused on learning and teaching. It brought together a whole range of staff from across the college together in one room for the first time and, if nothing else, was a success in just getting discussions out in the open. A number of themes emerged from discussions, which I’d imagine are very similar to other institutions. The idea is that these themes might help to inform the college’s learning and teaching strategy and their IT strategy. I thoroughly enjoyed the two days and definitely hope to keep conversations going ā€“ really great bunch of people. The next step for me is to write up our findings from the two days having used a number of participatory approaches to capture information.
  • I had my appraisal this week. Pretty straight forward in all honesty as it maps closely to our service’s and the BCE Team’s high level plans. I carried out a survey as part of my appraisal. You can see the results relating to my competencies below (click to enlarge). I got some amazing comments from everyone and I’m truly grateful to them for taking the time to fill in my survey. The area I was most interested in was my weaknesses. In summary I need to: be more confident in myself; be wary of taking too much on; get out and about a bit more; improve my negotiating/influencing skills; and try not to get too frustrated. I’m certainly going to try and improve in these areas ā€“ especially my confidence and presenting/networking.

Competency results

  • With help from my colleague, we’ve finalised details for an end of programme meeting. If ever you need to organise an event I’d thoroughly recommend Eventbrite!
  • Met with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) to see how our Business and Community Engagement (BCE) Team might work more closely together in the future. We didn’t have long but I came away feeling quite excited about doing more with the NCCPE and ensuring a greater join-up.
  • Had a catch-up meeting with Jisc’s BCE programme manager. Finalising some upcoming outputs (desk research, synthesis of the Open Innovation and Access to Resources programme) and thinking through future plans.

Lessons learned

  • Electric handbrakes are no good for man nor beast – rubbish.
  • If someone approaches you and shakes your hand go with it, otherwise you will make yourself look like a fool!

Of interest

  • I mentioned a video interview on leadership last week. I can’t stop thinking about it. One of the biggest issues I think exists across various organisations (albeit my experience is more in education) is that people are unsure about what they can/can’t do without the permission of senior managers. Some constraints are needed to guide those actions i.e. principles. My colleague mentioned a talk he heard on constraints and the way in which they can force us to be more creative. Gonna have to investigate this more…
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