Tuesday, 17 September 2013

PIU Launch

The Process Improvement Unit has been active for over a year now, and up to full strength since January of this year, and we’ve delivered a number of improvements around the university. The PIU Steering Group thought that an official launch of the unit would be a good way to publicise what we’re doing. Our original idea had been to buy some cut-price buns and cheap champagne from Sainsbury’s round the corner, but the VC had a better plan, and suggested we have a buffet supper at his home, inviting key influencers within the University to listen to our successes so far.

Our first task was to decide who to invite, and after long discussions, we produced a list of academics who haven’t so far been involved in process improvement and who between them covered the five faculties , and some project team members who could talk about their experiences. We also invited Steve Yorkstone from Napier University, who’s been a tremendous help to us in our first year of operation. His task was to provide the sector wide context.

The next job was to create some posters that would help us to tell the story of process improvement and of a couple of the projects we’ve worked on.  
Our Print and Design Services did a fantastic job of designing and printing the posters and we were really pleased with the result.

The event itself was a real success, although some of the attendees may have wondered why they were there. After a tour round the garden, the VC gave a short talk about the unit and our work, and spoke about us in extremely flattering terms. I gave a (very) short reply, waving my hands around a lot to explain that we work horizontally instead of vertically. People may have taken this to mean that we lie down on the job, but I meant that we work at right angles to the structure rather than with it, so that we can find out how processes work from start to finish.

We managed to get round to talk to everyone, and picked up some useful ideas for new projects, and some news about our existing projects which we need to pursue.
The event was a great way to celebrate our official launch, and we’re extremely grateful to the VC for giving up an evening to host it. It’s been a real boost to our confidence in what we’re doing, and hopefully an enjoyable evening for everyone.

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