What’s your strategy going forward?
That’s a question I’ve been hearing more and more of late. I sometimes respond with ‘keep scoring goals’ the Brazilian football team’s strategy from the late 70s and early 80s, but I worry about its currency. In reality, everyone knows that UniSA has been doing well and they know that after five years of successful delivery against the objectives we set ourselves in Crossing the Horizon that a new ‘plan’ is, ironically, now on the horizon. I cracked a few jokes about pulling together the difficult second album in the recent town halls - where I got to outline my high level thinking about the next phase of our enterprise (note to self - try to decouple brain from subliminal communication of arcane Star Trek trivia - just remembered that the first sequel planned for the original Star Trek TV series was indeed called Star Trek: Phase 2) (I digress).
The message I was sending at those meetings (and apologies to those that couldn’t attend, and to those that did attend and couldn’t get seats!) was pretty simple. We have been doing well and we should celebrate that. We are a high performing organisation, focused as one team. Oriented as Australia’s University of Enterprise. But the other message I was sending is that we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. We have to innovate and continue to cement our position on the national and international stage - as one of the world’s best young universities. We cannot be complacent in any facet of our operations. We are an institution that educates modern professionals for their future careers and connects with our stakeholders through a lens of end-user informed research and engagement. We need to give due consideration to the programs we teach, the people that support their delivery and the places in which we operate. Our focus must be on improving the lot of our students, our staff and our stakeholders. We can do that by being very clear and definite about what we actually think ‘great’ is - and charting our course from good to great across our suite of programs, our institutional research portfolio, our built environment, our staffing and culture and our custom and practice. Simple enough. And self-determined.
With a clear benefits framework in mind we can interrogate our business decisions to ensure they map to us realising a shared vision for UniSA in 2025. Enterprise 25 will be that plan. Not a list of things to do - more a roadmap with signposts to the future of Australia’s University of Enterprise - built around programs, people and precincts. And being awesome. Let’s not forget that bit. Changing the tyre while driving the car. Google it. Challenging - but not impossible. That’s the road we’ve taken these past five years. And the road that’s brought us to our being currently rated as Number 9 in Australia in Times Higher Education’s 2018 list of The nation’s top universities. After only 26 years. No prize for guessing who the other (Group of) 8 universities are (with an average age of 110 years - just saying). I’m betting they hadn’t factored on our sitting alongside them in the top 10 at this point in time.
Building on our established momentum, here at the crest of the horizon, we have much to be happy with and still more to accomplish in the years ahead. And that will be accomplished together. As we found out through two Unijams, the people who know our organisation the best are the people who will guide us into an exciting and prosperous future. That’s you. We can clearly define who we are, what we do and how we do it. What we value and what makes us proud about UniSA. And what UniSA will have to do to make us prouder still. Our answers will help to define our collective future as Australia’s University of Enterprise. Our discussions in the coming months around programs people and precincts will chart our course to greater success.
Through The Big Picture, I hope that our whole community gains a greater and current appreciation of what is going on, how it fits together and how our activities connect and reinforce each other at a whole of enterprise level.