At EDUCAUSE this year I took the opportunity to attend a pre-conference seminar entitled Weaving a Tale So Others Will Listen: Technical to Fantastical led by Crista Copp and Michael Berman. This wasn’t just a “make your PowerPoint pretty” workshop (although we did spend some time on that), it was a full blown introduction to the art of story telling.
After a week at EDUCAUSE I’ve been catching up on my news need and happened upon this post from Josh Kim. I feel as if this piece pre-supposes that the only kind of interaction that is valuable or useful is face-to-face interaction.
The place we live in Honolulu is right on a marina and has a boat dock. I’m not really a boat person, but the idea of being able to take a boat to do grocery shopping or go to the movies was just too seductive. I couldn’t help myself. I bought a boat. In the last year I’ve learning a great deal about the difference between procuring a thing and taking care of a thing.
Over my years as a CIO I’ve heard lots of reasons to not deploy something. One of the most perplexing to me is the “it might get damaged” argument (or its corollaries, “it might go down,” “it might get hacked,” and “it might get stolen”). It is very easy to give this kind of argument a very flippant response. You know, like “and a meteor might fall from the sky and strike us dead” (one of my personal favorites). The reality is, though, that there is some interesting and nuanced conversation to be had regarding risk and risk tolerance when thinking about deploying IT solutions.
Earlier this week a conversation started on the EDUCAUSE CIO list regarding individuals (and departments) picking their own tools to perform their job functions even if it duplicates something offered centrally. I responded with some partial thoughts that I thought I’d try and flesh out here.
Today I read a really interesting piece in the EDUCAUSE Review by Josh Kim, Not a Future CIO. There’s a great deal in there to digest, and it’s worth your time to read. Josh presents the conundrum many higher education IT professionals (including instructional support folks) have. “Do I want to be a CIO?”
I saw a post today on Seth Godin’s blog about Scientific Management and how it is being extended to white collar workers. Loosely speaking this is extending the idea that factories measure everything their workers do to ensure they are as efficient as possible to include the work done by almost everyone. There is always a desire (and perhaps even a need) to measure the work being done in your organization, but if you aren’t careful you will fall into the measurement trap.
For folks working in higher education, it’s that time of year again. We are all preparing to welcome (and welcome back) our students and start the fall semester. Watching the students get to various offices and step through the myriad of processes, I can see that there are some things that work well and others that don’t. Some of these things are one time activities, so if they aren’t completely smooth that might be OK. But some are ongoing activities, and if they aren’t going well they will serve as a constant irritant for the student’s entire stay with us. It’s like gum on the bottom of your shoe. As an individual event this isn’t a big deal. But every step after that is a reminder that you stepped in gum, and at some point you’re going to have to stop and deal with it.
Today I read this really interesting piece from David Jones titled, “Homogeneity: the inevitable result of a strategic approach?” It’s short and worth the read. The basic premise is that defining the work we do based on a strategic approach yields a non-differentiated result (my words, not his). That is to say, every institution starts to look kind of the same. As I said, interesting.
As you look to move your career in higher education IT forward and explore new opportunities, it is important to understand the kinds of work that excite you, the challenges you like to tackle, the work environment in which you thrive, and the institutional values that are important to you. Self evaluation, guidance from mentors, and investigating potential institutions all play an important role in making an informed decision about the next step you take in your career.