29 April 2013

Artwork from poster for unijam eventThe University of South Australia is about to embark on a world-first in university planning when it launches one of the biggest online discussions about its future next month. 

With the goal of having an online conversation with many of its 35,000 current students, its alumni worldwide and its 6,000 full and part time staff, UniSA will launch unijam on May 29 - 30, a 48-hour international conversation supported by IBM. 

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the technology for the unijam has been tried and tested successfully in leading international organisations but no university anywhere and no Australian organisations have ever attempted an IBM Jam. 

“This will be one vital part of an important planning process for the University as we look ahead to the next five years and set priorities around teaching, research, the student experience, our international engagement and how we work with industry to boost Australian innovation,” he says. 

Director of IBM’s Social Insight Group, Liam Cleaver says he’s delighted to be working with UniSA as the first university to host a jam anywhere in the world. 

“Inviting a wide diversity of comments and suggestions for growth is a bold and innovative concept and use of our technology," Cleaver says.   

"IBM knows from experience that the Jam process will deliver not only some exciting insights for UniSA, its students and staff, but also provide the foundation for new initiatives.”

The IBM Jam model was pioneered by IBM and used to uncover, discuss and create a swathe of innovations. The model has now been used around the world in many organisations including the United States Government USAid, Nokia, Citi, NATO and the European Union. 

The CEO of Citi Global Transaction Services (GTS) business, Francesco Vanni d’Archirafi says it would have taken 10 years of travelling around the globe asking questions and doing presentations to gather the wealth of intellectual capital his business obtained through the Jam. 

“The power of the Jam is that not only do I have visibility over those ideas, every GTS employee does also,” he says. 

Professor Lloyd says students, staff, and alumni have a month to register for unijam. 

He says the structure of an IBM Jam provides opportunities to discuss issues, vote on polls, and add big ideas to the conversation and at the same time develop and refine ideas. 

“One of the really exciting things about this platform is wherever you are – Shanghai, London, San Francisco, Semaphore or Whyalla - you can join the conversation, so we can draw on the ideas and experiences of our successful graduates and we can invite some leading thinkers to join unijam and share their wisdom,” Prof Lloyd says. 

Unijam already has some enthusiastic participants ready to take part including the Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill and more high profile “jammers” will be announced in the next few weeks.

Mr Weatherill says he is delighted to be involved in unijam. 

“Since becoming Premier, I’ve sought new and innovative ways of engaging people in decision making that affects them – that’s why I why I wanted to be involved in unijam

“It offers a great way to involve the university community in planning for its future. Universities are such an important part of the South Australian community and economy so it is exciting to be involved,” Mr Weatherill says. 

Professor Lloyd says unijam will offer some extra benefits for students. 

“It’s not every day that  a student has the chance to have a personal chat with very senior leaders and international strategists, so purely from the point of view of gaining experience, unijam is going to be a great experience for students,” Prof Lloyd says. 

“And from a staff perspective this event will help to shape UniSA. Our lecturers and professional staff are dedicated and passionate about the institution and about higher education so this will offer them the ultimate opportunity to make a difference.” 

UniSA Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au 







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