How do we make sustainability a natural part of AAU's programmes and research? Why is digitalisation important? And what is the future of PBL? This and much more were enthusiastically debated at the first of a total of three online strategy cafés where staff and students have the opportunity to speak to the Executive Management about the development of AAU's future strategy.
Nearly 70 people attended the first strategy café which took place on Thursday, 24 September. Prorector Inger Askehave and Rector Per Michael Johansen welcomed the participants and briefly explained the rules for the online meeting. The participants were then sent out in smaller groups to breakout rooms to discuss the main themes of sustainability, digitalisation and PBL in more detail. Along the way, input and ideas were noted on the joint digital message board Padlet. Feedback on the meeting format was largely positive – here’s a sample of what the participants had to say:
TOBIAS KALLEHAUGE, RESEARCH ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS, GRADUATE OF AAU SUMMER 2020
- I was very impressed with how well the technique worked in the different elements of the café. In particular, it was interesting to participate in the smaller rounds where everyone had the opportunity to offer input. I would certainly encourage my colleagues and the students to take part next time. It was an interesting afternoon that was well organised.
LUISE BACH JOHANSEN, STUDIES LEARNING AND CHANGE PROCESSES, 9TH SEMESTER AND IS CURRENTLY AN INTERN AT AAU INNOVATION
- Holding the strategy café online worked surprisingly well. What impressed me the most was that right after the opening presentation we sat in groups and could talk about it. It was very effective to be divided into groups automatically, and the online format meant that you were forced to follow the speaking order. I felt heard and that my input and the experiences I shared were appreciated. I would encourage everyone to participate, no question.
RIKKE POULSEN, SPECIAL CONSULTANT, TECHNICAL FACULTY OF IT AND DESIGN
- I was excited to hear the presentation from the Executive Management. I work closely with the dean and it was a good opportunity to see the executive management interact more generally. Overall, I was really impressed with how well the concept worked. Everyone who wanted to speak had the opportunity to do so. However, the very first session worked less well as the group was not entirely clear on what the task was. It was also a positive that we were able to address all the themes during the café. Finally, kudos to the colleagues in ITS who made it all work!
JAKOB SKOV SØNDERGÅRD, STUDIES SOFTWARE ENGINEERING, 3RD SEMESTER
- I signed up for the strategy café with an expectation of just listening from the back row, but I was surprised at how smoothly it was arranged. As a student, I felt like I was being heard, and I didn't expect that. The small groups with a moderator worked really well! It was nice to be with the same 12 people in the groups as this made for a sense of belonging. I would definitely encourage my fellow students to participate in the next rounds.
TORBEN ELGAARD JENSEN, PROFESSOR AND RESEARCH GROUP LEADER, DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND LEARNING
- As a research group leader on the campus in Copenhagen, the strategy café was a welcome opportunity to hear what colleagues on the 'mothership' and AAU's management are thinking regarding the new strategy. The whole technical setup and the orchestration of the meeting worked surprisingly well. There were well-timed shifts between the plenary and the breakout rooms; Padlet was a great idea; and it was good to have members of the executive management lead the meetings. You had a sense that you were talking to people who would be directly involved in the processes in the future. I would definitely recommend that my colleagues participate. It’s a great opportunity to communicate your ideas and learn about your organisation.
MARIE FALLGAARD, SENIOR CONSULTANT, AAU INNOVATION
- I think the combination of plenary presentation/summary and discussion in the small rooms worked very well. The members of the executive management were all good at leading the meetings, and I think we actually got more out of the strategy cafés (both personally and in terms of the amount of input) because it was done online rather than in person. Also, being able to make ongoing comments digitally was a good feature. However, the first exercise without a moderator did not work that well as it became a bit awkward. I would definitely encourage my colleagues to participate in the upcoming strategy cafés; you gain insight and have the opportunity to influence our joint reality going forward. It was absolutely worth the time.
The feedback from management on the input from participants was also positive:
INGER ASKEHAVE, PRO-RECTOR
- Not only did we get great input for the future strategy, but we also showed each other that we can create closeness and enable relevance in the virtual setting. I was especially pleased with how well the students joined in and spoke up. They also said afterwards that this probably would not happen 'in real life'.
DORTE STIGAARD, INNOVATION DIRECTOR
- First, a big thank you to everyone who was there. The whole setup worked well; there was a good pace and energy; and it was also energizing and enriching for me! I moderated three digitalisation rounds where everyone had a chance to speak and also listened to each other's perspectives. And the Zoom concept of breakout group sessions was super effective and conducive to equal dialogue. I hope many others will take advantage of the opportunity to attend the next cafés!
INPUTS AND IDEAS GATHERED FOR THE FUTURE STRATEGY
The input and ideas from the first online strategy café will be complied with the input from the upcoming strategy cafés to further the design of the strategy. The new strategy is to be finally adopted in the summer of 2021.
JOIN THE NEXT ONLINE STRATEGY CAFÉS
Would you like to speak directly to one or more members of AAU's executive management, giving them your ideas and input on how to design AAU's next strategy?
Then hurry and sign up for the upcoming online strategy cafes:
- Friday, 9 October, 13.00-16.00
- Tuesday, 10 November, 9.00-12.00