CREATING A CULTURE OF CAMPUS INNOVATION AND OWNERSHIP
We recruit and hire talented people to generate new ideas, solve complex problems and help us achieve our mission. Yet within large organizations and systems, our employees may find there are barriers to communication and inefficiencies in processes. They also may lack the resources they seek to successfully perform their work.
Empowering a barriers team can shift a culture to one of high trust, engagement and creativity with sustainable problem solving. A barriers team is a group of non-executive level employees who listen to all team members and collaborate to remove barriers impeding their success in the workplace.
TACKLE PROBLEMS AND PROPOSE SOLUTIONS
By using a barriers team, employees at University of West Georgia examined 18 barriers and proposed nine solutions which were all approved by the President at the time of the initiative, Kyle Marrero.
Conversations were wide-ranging and thoughtful. The fundamental question, though, was always: What is this a barrier to? If the answer to that did not fall within the scope of UWG’s strategic imperatives, then the Barriers Team did not take it on.
Through this team, UWG implemented solutions such as:
- An updated system that streamlined curriculum and catalog management and eliminating inefficiencies in publishing and inaccuracies in content.
- A system to distribute differential tuition funds to departments earlier in the year so fiscally responsible allocation plans could be implemented earlier. This new system reduces a year-end scramble to meet purchasing deadlines.
- A Dual Career Assistance Program (DCAP) that assists partners of new hires in finding employment in the geographic area to facilitate recruitment.
In Breaking Barriers: A Collaborative Approach to Problem-Solving Created a Culture of Campus Innovation, the authors Denise Overfield, PhD, Janet Pilcher, PhD, and Amber Smallwood, PhD, describe in detail the approach used at UWG and present a case study of their results. Through subcommittees, more people were engaged in the process which expanded opportunities for employee engagement, encouraged a culture of inclusive problem solving and lessened the risk of burnout.
Breaking Barriers: A Collaborative Approach to Problem-Solving Created a Culture of Campus Innovation
This article outlines the process by which a public university sought to develop and grow a culture of problem-solving and innovation at a time when the institution was undergoing a number of transitions. By developing a Barriers Team, the institution brought together a group of individuals representing all aspects of the university and charged the members with tackling barriers to success. The authors outline how they used the institution’s strategic plan as a starting point, and then describe the steps, provide examples, and reflect on the long-range viability of the approach.