University Strategy 2030

Thought-leading ideas on the future of strategy in the UK University sector

Following on from the success of his University Strategy 2020 benchmarking report, Mike Baxter is currently embarking on further research into the strategies of UK universities, under the title ‘University Strategy 2030’. Mike’s research involves discussions with strategy thought leaders and the analysis of the published strategies of UK universities.

Over 50 members of university leadership teams with responsibility for strategy, including VCs and Strategy Directors, have participated so far. Below are some of the topics these conversations have highlighted, which are now shaping the focus of Mike’s research:

  • The impact of core values on people strategy and organisational culture;
  • Research, innovation, knowledge exchange and industry collaboration;
  • The skills agenda and the evolving relationship between HE and FE;
  • Strategy governance, KPIs and accountability;
  • Staff and student wellbeing – building a positive culture;
  • Long-term financial sustainability;
  • Aligning mission with global challenges, e.g. climate change, equality, innovation;
  • The impact of digital technology, e.g. online/blended learning;
  • The distinctiveness of university strategies, or lack thereof.

The first output from this research is Mike’s latest book, ‘Core Values… and how they underpin strategy and organistaional culture’. UK universities make great real-world examples of core values because of their tradition of publishing their strategy documents. This book, it is hoped, will provide a valuable cross-fertilisation of thinking, sharing learnings from the commercial world with leaders of UK universities and sharing the published strategies of the university sector with commercial leaders.

Strategy thought leadership conversations

In the video below, John Pritchard, Director of Strategy, Planning and Insights at Durham University talks about the connection between strategy and culture. In it, he explains how strategy and culture need to go hand-in-hand and how we need to think deeply about organisational ways of working in order to make this happen. Using the example of the global positioning of Durham University, John talks about how their strategy set aspirations to ensure Durham maintained its position as a world-leading institution and also provided tools, processes and encouragement for individual academics to engage externally via social media, events and their writings, in order to consolidate and amplify the ‘Durham Voice’. In a wide-ranging discussion of the topic, John shares his insights and describes several of the initiatives Durham have undertaken to connect strategy and culture.

If you would be happy to take part in a conversation with Mike to discuss the strategy challenges and insights from your own institution, please get in touch.

Latest Book: Core Values

A short, highly accessible and practical guide to making core values impactful, featuring academic research, business case studies and analysis of the strategies of 36 UK universities.

Mike Baxter’s latest book aims to have core values feature more prominently and more usefully in the life of your organisation, leading to impactful strategy and strong organisational culture. Find out more…

University Strategy 2020 Report

Based on an analysis of the published strategies of 52 UK universities and interviews with 28 university leaders, this report combines evidence-based strategy research with recommendations on best-practice strategy design. Find out more…

“This report will be of great value to university leaders and their advisers.” Lord Jim Knight

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Thought Leadership

Author of 'The Strategy Manual' and 'Core Values', Goal Atlas founder and Director, Mike Baxter, is a renowned strategy expert, keynote speaker and thought leader. He publishes regular articles on all aspects of strategy and strategic planning and frequently shares his ideas and expertise via the Strategy Distilled newsletter, LinkedIn and other invited presentations.

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