JISC and Innovation
I recently attended the JISC Innovation Forum 2008, held at the University of Keele on 15-16thJuly 2008. Several blog posts about the event have already been published includes one’s by Paul Walk, Owen Stephens and Chris Rusbridge. Rather than repeating such reports, I feel it is appropriate to mention Sarah Porter’s introduction to the event. Sarah, Head of Innovation Group at the JISC, described what JISC meant by ‘innovation’. She provided a description of the term which she obtained from Wikipedia (dated 17 July 2008):
Innovation is typically understood as the successful introduction of something new and useful, for example introducing new methods, techniques, or practices or new or altered products and services.
The emphasis which JISC is placing on innovation clearly reflects developments to the UK Government’s policy initiatives in this area, in particular the establishment of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, DIUS.
MLA and Innovation
Elspeth Hyams’ editorial in the CILIP Update magazine (June 2008, Vol. 7, No. 6) has the byline “In This Climate, You Have To Innovate“. As Elspeth describes, the need to innovate applies equally to the information sector: “The age of the quiescent library or information manager or service is dead“. The editorial goes on to describe the MLA’s action plan for public libraries and reports on the MLA’s Chief Executive, Roy Clare, calls for “radical action on structure, far-sighted leadership vision and more public Private Partnerships“. The editorial concludes with the warning that “It’s not just a challenge for the academic schools, but for all of us” but also suggests that “we should use tough times as a golden opportunity to focus on the strategy – and upgrade and refresh our skills“.
UKOLN and Innovation
As UKOLN is funded by both the JISC (we are a JISC Innovation Centre) and the MLA, there is a need for us to respond to these clearly-stated policy directions. So I’m pleased to report that we helped to provide staff in museums, libraries and archives in the London region with an opportunity to “upgrade and refresh [their] skills” with the most recent Web 2.0 and Social Networks workshop aimed at the cultural heritage sector. And next week we’ll be running the twelfth of the annual Institutional Web Management Workshops (IWMW 2008), in which we will be providing further examples of innovation which we hope will be both new and useful for members of the higher and further education communities including our explorations of use of Twitter by event organisers, use of video blogging, a live video stream of the plenary talks, the establishment of a Ning social network for the event and the innovation competition.
Regular readers will be aware that such technologies have been discussed for some time now. But their use at events and within institutions is still, I feel, fairly unusual and so can be regarded as new. Whether they will be regarded as useful can only be judged by trying things out and receiving feedback.