Collaboration with the University of Gloucestershire
Hiring new people is a weighty commitment, both in terms of time invested and the responsibility we vest in that person. This is especially true of graduates who, while highly qualified, can often lack (through no fault of their own) the broader skills needed to be effective in business.
New talent is the lifeblood that drives innovation and fresh thinking, so we need to carefully consider our role in their learning and growth as people, while they are still studying. They are the future.
One way to achieve that is for businesses to forge stronger links with the academic world and develop a vision that ensures graduates have the skills they (and we) will need for the future. While developing the skill base clearly makes perfect sense for the longer term future of the UK economy, there are two immediate short term benefits for businesses that do get involved:
- Students enter the business world with the softer skills already in place so add value more quickly.
- Businesses have greater access and can even guide the research into relevant topics. In our case organisational behaviours in fast changing situations.
My involvement at the Growth Hub at the University of Gloucestershire led me to Josie Truscott, a Senior Occupational Psychology Lecturer at the University. We both recognised the potential and have been working together since then to develop a working partnership between Applied Change and the University.
A range of new perspectives from bright people with unconstrained thinking
I started working with Josie’s MSc students on a real-life situation that I have been involved in and we spent a few hours initially on developing a framework for dealing with it. They gained the benefit of my experience while I gained a range of new perspectives from bright people with unconstrained thinking. This is essentially fuel for growth in any business.
It was clear to me that aside from adding to our own change and behaviour knowledge with the latest research, there was great deal we could learn from each other. If managed well, it can be a truly symbiotic partnership. We are hoping to lead the way and show the benefits of closer collaboration both in terms of the research itself and in the development of students into well-rounded future business leaders.
businesses are not making nearly enough of the resources available
As Josie put it: “The situation right now is that businesses are not making nearly enough of the resources available in research establishments for a number of reasons. Through this partnership with Applied Change we are helping our students to have a meaningful impact on the business world while they are studying and to help them emerge at the end well equipped and ready to develop their careers. We see this as a win-win for us and for Applied Change, as it should be.
As a lecturer and specialist who also works with multinational businesses I hear time and again that students are often lacking a deep enough understanding of the business world. So in effect the national university model is producing exemplary scholars that struggle to adjust to the working world. The work we are doing with Applied Change is seeking to address this.”
It seems such a great opportunity. Research establishments have so much to offer and businesses can support them, while also benefiting from the process. Businesses get to expand their own knowledge through pioneering research while also influencing and shaping the students to equip them with the skills that will create the business leaders of the future.
Mark has over 25 years’ experience of fast paced transformational change, often in highly complex and political situations. He co-founded Applied Change 10 years ago with a clear purpose to push the thinking on human behaviour and human centred change. Most recently he’s been working closely with University of the West of England (UWE) Psychological Sciences Research Group to develop simple, practical models and tools that re-orientate our approach to business change, starting from the human perspective.