Friday, May 18, 2012

Strategic Planning

Yesterday's post might seem a little airy. Also, it might seem to contradict my usual line about the importance of planning. (See this post, for example.) Am I telling you not to worry so much about a larger plan and just do things that you can make sense of later? No, I am suggesting that your plan, from day to day and week and week, should consist of things you can just go ahead and do. They are also, of course, things that you will say (in one paragraph at a time).

The force of this argument is really directed at higher levels of the university than the individual scholar. Research strategies are often developed around "themes" or "platforms" that in one way or another are attempts to decide what the department or school will be saying (or at least talking about) over the next five years. Instead of generating these big ideas, however, they should follow Russell Davies' advice and get their researchers, all whom are fundamentally smart and interesting people, to pursue their own small ideas, to express the knowledge they already have. Get those ideas written down and published. Build the brand of your university or department around what your faculty can do, not what you want them to say.

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