Institutional collaboration as strategy

| November 4, 2009

Brad Wheeler says that higher ed is a “different” kind of industry in that institutions don’t directly complete against each other. Instead, and as a consequence, ed organizations should follow a strategy to approach problems in similar ways (across a wide range of activities).

He spoke about the growing set of activities that are leading to a “meta-university.” Parts of this tool-set, he says, come from the following inter-institutional collaborations that have resulted in the following software projects/platforms:

He also talked about the foundation for joining collaborative development across institutions. Some key factors:

  • Goal alignment
  • Values alignment
  • Temporal alignment
  • Talent alignment
  • Governance clarity
  • Problem solving alignment

So, to summarize, it sounds a bit impossible to join one of these efforts. On the other hand, I would love to see PocketKnowledge develop in a direction that brings in external collaborators (even leaders!). To that end, he mentions several of the “many ways” individuals and organizations can collaborate beyond contributing code, such as…

  • commenting
  • testing
  • critiquing
  • creating buzz

An interesting model for PocketKnowledge might be what he calls “Institutional Sourcing” (as opposed to “Commercial Sourcing” or “Consortium Sourcing”)… where an institution’s reputation drives its roll as leader and manager of a particular tool.