OBP Support Staff Strategy Meeting

June 3rd, 2014

Responsibilities lower down in the organization (entrepreneurship)

1. ‘Proactive’ and ‘enterprising’ sound highly motivating, but they are often translated as ‘must’. How can these differences be reconciled?

Answer: They both apply. We have an ambitious vision that involves great challenges and we must all contribute. The challenge for service departments is to provide the best possible support for the primary process. At the same time, we want to create scope. So you are allowed to be entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurship is part and parcel of the service departments’ support role; our connection to the primary process.

2. In the context of the new vision, what objectives are we trying to achieve? How will our success be measured?

Answer: It’s difficult to know exactly when we have achieved success. For instance, what would make us the most entrepreneurial university in the EU? A growing number of students or attracting talented researchers?

3. How long will it be before the vision is translated into strategy?

Answer: We don’t want to cram everything into a policy straightjacket. Instead, we want to create scope for new ideas and operating methods. People are free to exploit this scope, but their ideas will consistently be assessed against the overall vision. Decisions will be made now, at a later point in time, or in the intervening period. This is exemplified by the ‘Design Centre’. We do have a vision, but we need to work on ways of translating this into specifics. The vision that has been formulated is a common view for 2020. From that point on, we will have to work out how to proceed.

4. We speak of ‘a greater social impact’ and of ‘making ourselves heard more effectively (publicity)’, but how do we achieve that?

Answer: The issue of science communication was recently discussed by the University of Twente’s Young Academy (JA@UT) and the Directorate for Marketing & Communications. This is one of the Directorate’s main tasks, involving the active ‘spotting’ and ‘preparation’ of interesting news items. The Directorate for Marketing & Communications knows what makes an item newsworthy. It is attempting to adopt a more proactive stance in this regard.

5. There is talk of a joint annual plan for the service departments. But surely this is more about cooperation between support and the primary process, rather than between the service departments? Regarding the information meetings on the new strategy, why hold separate sessions for support staff and academic staff, for example?

Answer: CREATE the UT of Tomorrow was a prime example of a joint meeting involving academic staff, support staff and students. This, too, we classify as ‘entrepreneurship’: seek contact, take the risk. There is a great deal of mutual understanding, just as long as people talk to one another and make clear exactly why, for example, a delay has occurred.