University of Brighton

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18July 2016
Fiona Stratford

Fiona Stratford

Partner
This post is authored by Fiona Stratford, Partner. Full bio →
Fiona Stratford
Fiona Stratford

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Involving people affected by change and allowing them to provide input on issues that matter to them, for example, large scale strategic conversations, is more likely to result in people owning the change process and its outcomes’

This principle was used in our work with the University of Brighton recently, here’s what we did…

Our challenge

The University of Brighton may trace its history back to 1859, but its style of governance and the scope of its ambition for students and faculty is notably forward-looking. The institution serves 20,700 students across five campuses and  is a major university for the professions.  UniBrighton’s strategic leadership called us in to help drive a new approach to developing their future strategy: they wanted the initiative to be broad, inclusive and engaging, to harvest and build upon a wide and representative selection of ideas and suggestions.

Our approach

  • Five 2½ hour meetings at each campus, supported by a website and informal drop-in sessions.
  • Journey-through-time meeting design, highlighting the assembled experience in the room by creating a physical circle of participants ordered by their length of employment at the university.
  • Creation of a large-display history map drawing on the wealth of experience in the room, supported by live graphic recording.
  • Graphic representation of influences impacting the university now and in the future, to spark off ideas for the future from each group. We used a large-display mind-map format to graphic record inputs.
  • Summaries of ideas generated at each meeting, in spreadsheet form, to make it easy for the strategic teams to assimilate quickly.

 Our results

The meetings were attended by around 400 staff from all campuses, across the professorial, administrative and support dimensions. The concentrated ideas and insights will be used to create a strategy for UniBrighton.

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Our learning

The physicality and psychology of people arranging themselves in order of their length of service was fascinating!

  • It wasn’t a pecking order – fresh thinking came from all parts
  • Passion isn’t based on length of service.

An awful lot can be achieved involving a lot of people in a very short space of time!

What people said

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