Notes

1 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/jacinda-ardern-flags-four-day-working-week-as-way-to-rebuild-new-zealand-after-covid-19

 

2 We say active week because the working week of 9-5 Monday to Friday which still largely dominated before the virus will inevitably give way to a new normal of staggered starts/finishes and enable all organisations to spread the load – Saturday and Sunday need no longer be the peak period for leisure as we tidally swing from week to weekend activities and back again.  Use of specialist facilities and resources over the weekend will increasingly become the norm as it could easily add 40% to capacity levels that are otherwise dramatically reduced by Covid-secure practices.

 

3 The first example of this we noticed is “1+1 pricing” of elements of the BGP Response Programme at Cranfield School of Management

4 De Geus, Arie P, Planning as Learning, Harvard Business Review, March-April 1988, p 70

5 We might realistically expect shortages to become more acute not only in health and caring professions which seem to be anticipated readily in every scenario we have heard for some weeks but also in: computing (lock-down and social-distancing may be a catalyst for developments in virtual and augmented reality), engineering (rapid manufacture and the potential to re-establish cottage industries for some products) and, indeed, across the sciences.  However, we should not overlook opportunities in education (moving provision on-line at pace may be readily followed by recognising that scale economies are possible and that the ability to widen access especially to those newly displaced by the economic shocks is a significant opportunity), nor in design (more biosecure products and products we still don’t know we need), nor in arts and culture where the impact of social distancing calls out for innovation in creation and performance.  Entrepreneurship and innovation will continue to be huge driving forces but perhaps with a greater sense of social purpose than has ever been needed before.

 

6 Schoemaker, Paul J. H., Scenario Planning: A Tool For Strategic Thinking, Sloan Management Review, 36:2 (1995:Winter) p.25 

 

7 There is another scenario to consider: many students may be nervous that, if they defer, they will lose out in the longer-term as competition for particularly prestigious places/courses intensifies in later years.  While this may off-set the risk of a short-term shock, it could mean greater challenges in managing expectations about what a covid-secure experience looks like.  It is even conceivable that the expectations on both sides will be unrealistic and that disputes (up to and including legal action) will ensue.  In this scenario, the shock is not one of under-recruitment but comes from the costs of over-promising and under-delivering on students’ expectations (reasonable or not).

 

8 We might assume that returning students to second and third years have enough invested in their degrees already to see out the experience in even a sub-optimal format (a disappointment but not necessarily worse than giving up part way through).  They might not, of course, if institutions do not make every effort to make them feel there is real scope to complete their studies in a supportive environment.  Prioritising the task of recruiting new students should not obscure the probability that returning students will also have anxieties about their futures and will want to see signs their University is taking them every bit as seriously.

9 Although it is comfortable to think that the future once looked eminently predictable, the cold truth is that it was never thus, uncertainty was the old normal every bit as much as the new normal; even if many of us periodically, and for sustained periods, lost sight of that fact. 

10  We define a sustainable operating model as one in which an investment will lead to a return and which can be maintained over time from revenues.  Excessive borrowing and reliance on external funding are not the hallmarks of a sustainable operating model.  We believe this fundamentally applies to any organisation which produces a benefit for others; our definition presupposes an inter-dependency of needs/expectations.  We use the term operating model to capture the combination of market requirements and operations resource decisions which have to be taken to fulfil the needs of customers, clients and stakeholders.

 

11 W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Fair Process: Managing in the Knowledge Economy, Harvard Business Review July-August 1997. P65

 

12 Some caution here is required as its death has been long predicted and yet the lecture has shown remarkable resilience.  It remains to be seen whether it will be susceptible to Covid.  Most institutions seem, from a range of public statements, to have already plucked the low hanging fruit of putting lead lectures on-line for the year ahead.  That might be the easy part and it remains to be seen if subsequent decisions will be equal to the scale of the capacity challenge.

 

13 The quote is the title of Michael Hammer’s paper “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate”, Harvard Business Review July-August 1990.  It charts the use of technology to re-design processes but also makes the key point that many of our processes are not designed they are simply the continuation of historic customs and practices.  Better than before thinking represents the opportunity to evaluate what no longer has relevance.

14 This idea works both ways.  Just as an employee may work local to their home base and away from campus, so the employees of other organisations may look for space local to their home which is proximate to a university campus.  For example, Antenna, https://antenna.uk.com/member, is owned by Confetti, which along with Metronome is in turn owned by NTU providing education, co-working spaces and a home for Notts TV – a clever combined use of space to suit several different clients – worth considering for any city-based institutions with spare capacity.

15 The range of work possible in home-settings is very broad ranging from research, data analysis, writing/editing, data input, clerical work, one-to-one calls/private meetings where these can be conducted via phone or conferencing app, team meetings in many cases, service calls/helpdesk services, any work demanding quiet, private time (provided that the home environment can support these elements and that distractions are manageable and managed) and indeed, any work which can be mediated one-to-one by telephony with no detriment to the experience.  It may not be as pleasant as an informal chat over a cup of coffee but it is every bit as workable.

16 By control we mean the understanding of the performance tolerances of the process and the variability of outcomes.  Out of control processes are typically those where performance is largely erratic and there is limited understanding of the reasons for the fluctuations in performance.  Control is associated with depth of knowledge about the process and structured techniques to identify and eliminate variability in performance.  High levels of process knowledge are a pre-requisite for automation.

17 There is another scenario to consider: many students may be nervous that, if they defer, they will lose out in the longer-term as competition for particularly prestigious places/courses intensifies in later years.  While this may off-set the risk of a short-term shock, it could mean greater challenges in managing expectations about what a covid-secure experience looks like.  It is even conceivable that the expectations on both sides will be unrealistic and that disputes (up to and including legal action) will ensue.  In this scenario, the shock is not one of under-recruitment but comes from the costs of over-promising and under-delivering on students’ expectations (reasonable or not).

 

18 We might assume that returning students to second and third years have enough invested in their degrees already to see out the experience in even a sub-optimal format (a disappointment but not necessarily worse than giving up part way through).  They might not, of course, if institutions do not make every effort to make them feel there is real scope to complete their studies in a supportive environment.  Prioritising the task of recruiting new students should not obscure the probability that returning students will also have anxieties about their futures and will want to see signs their University is taking them every bit as seriously.

Our work has made a difference for the following institutions...

Aston University | Newham Sixth Form College, London |  University of Surrey | University of East Anglia | Cleveland College of Art & Design | Southampton Solent University | King's College, London
National University of Ireland, Galway | University of Oxford

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