UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

No Risk…. No Innovation…

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 23 October 2008

A job advertisement for ICT Programme Managers in JISC begins with the phrase:

No risk…. no innovation…

The advert goes on to say:

To innovate, you have to take risks… well managed ones. By undertaking innovation programmes with universities and colleges we can build a world class ICT infrastructure for UK research and learning. To keep us moving forward, we now need five Programme Managers with excellent people and programme management skills to manage large-scale programmes …

This view of what it means to be a part of today’s IT development environment reflects a comment I made when I was interviewed by Hilary Swain for an article on “Web 2.0: boon or bane for universities”  published in the Education Guardian on 12th May 2008. The article concluded with my comment: “Universities should be risk-taking organisations. Learning is a risky process.

But its important to note the job advert’s comment on the need to take a ‘well-managed’ approach to risk-taking.  The need to identify approaches for managing risks was the main focus on my paper on “Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends” and this is an area in which further work will be needed. And this work will cover not just the JISC sector but also museums, libraries and archives. Roy Clare, the MLA’s Chief Executive, recently called forradical action on structure, far-sighted leadership vision and more public Private Partnerships“ within this sector and an editorial in the CILIP Update magazine (June 2008, Vol. 7, No. 6) had the byline “In This Climate, You Have To Innovate“.

I think 2009 will be a very interesting time for those involved in the development and support of networked services.

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