The 30-hour online brainstorming session with staff, students and friends of the University globally, once again produced some great ideas and conversations, but this time the aim of the game was to refine UniSA’s strategic plan, 'Crossing the Horizon'.
Leading the way in planning in the higher education sector, UniSA was the first university in the world to host an IBM jam in 2013, feeding ideas into the corporate planning process.
UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says unijam 2016 was engaging, exhausting, challenging and affirming. In short, it was a worthy sequel.
“We are three years into our strategic plan and it was time for us to take stock of what’s important and make sure we are on track,” Prof Lloyd says.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of UniSA and we’ve already mined some very useful information from the huge inflow of communication the jam fostered.”
He says enthusiasm for the process hasn’t waned in the three years since the first unijam. There were almost 4600 participants registered and the jam generated 18,217 visits from 55 countries with 314,073 page views.
Once again, activity outside unijam about the jam was high. This time the event was live-streamed and again it trended on Twitter.
“I don’t know many places that take such an open approach to having their communities participate in their planning process in this way,” Prof Lloyd says.
High profile guest-jammers included State and Federal Government Members of Parliament, Simon Birmingham, Christopher Pyne, Premier Jay Weatherill, Stephen Marshall, Susan Close, and Kyam Maher and higher education journalists Julie Hare (The Australian) and Phil Baty (Times Higher Education).
Topics that generated the most interest included how we can improve staff and student connections, the best ways to transition to university, and how we can develop closer links between our researchers and end users. And students wanted to green the City East campus, power Mawson Lakes with solar energy, put on more campus connector buses and increase online study options.
“Following unijam, we continue to mine all the posts and make decisions about which ideas we can implement now and what we will hold over,” Prof Lloyd said.
“One interesting aspect of the IBM analysis is a measure of the character of the organisation gathered by mining the posts of all the jammers. It seems the UniSA ‘personality’ is intrigued by new ideas and their exploration, motivated to seek out new experiences, unconcerned with tradition and keen to carve its own path.
“It is empathetic and compassionate, dedicated to efficiency and seeks opportunities to improve and demonstrate its capabilities – all characteristics of an enterprising organisation.”