Last year the Lean in HE Hub was established (www.leanhehub.ac.uk). The Steering Group has representatives from 10 universities in the UK. It was established to promote continuous improvement in HE.
On 3rd April we hosted the second Steering Group meeting. Eight of the ten universities were able to attend. We started the morning by introducing the group to some of the work we've been doing here at Sheffield, and the Head of Counselling Service joined us to talk about the process improvement project she was involved in. Her praise made us blush!
The main business of the meeting covered a variety of things including the creation of an advisory group comprising of senior leaders in the field, specific actions around the website and the LinkedIn group, and plans for the conference that will be held in Cardiff in November 2014.
At lunchtime we were joined by our boss, Christine Sexton (Director of Corporate Information and Computing Services) who formally welcomed the group to the university and contributed to the lively lunchtime debate.
Post lunch, we facilitated a workshop looking at our customers, which will be written up into a paper and shared via the hub website in due course. In short “customer” is still a challenging term for many staff in universities, and needs to be used with caution. However, the feeling was that it is generally becoming more acceptable. We then led an exercise to create an “empathy map” of a student’s view of our universities’ processes. It was the first time some people had used this tool, so it generated some interest. The most interesting conclusion was that we all need to do more to understand our students, and each member of the group identified a short term action to expedite this.
It was an honour and a pleasure to host the day. Sharing time, anecdotes and specific examples with colleagues was both interesting and valuable. We're already looking forward to the next meeting in September.