OK, all you idea people, here’s your chance to shine.
Andy Shaindlin, the guy behind the Alumni Futures blog, has come up with an ingenious contest to tap into the wisdom of the higher ed blogging crowd, and maybe help improve higher education administration along the way. Today, Andy announced on his blog the Alumni Futures Innovation Award contest to solicit ideas for improving higher education administration. To participate, go to Andy’s blog, click on a button to generate a random word, and then brainstorm an idea to improve administration — on your campus, in your department, wherever else academic administrators may lurk — based on the word that came up when you clicked.
Your idea can apply to alumni relations, development, PR, marketing, communications, admissions, career services – or a combination. Or some other specialty. We’re flexible.
I’ll select a recipient from the submissions to receive the Alumni Futures Innovation Award, and post the idea and winner in a future posting.
Ideally, the winning idea will reflect some of the following characteristics:
- Hasn’t yet been thoroughly tried or tested in higher ed administration;
- Challenges standard assumptions and practices in our professions;
- Could be implemented at many kinds of institutions – or better yet, could happen across many or even all institutions.
- Is so cool, so clever or so simple that we won’t believe we haven’t thought of it.
Andy has some lovely gifts for the winner, so send enter right away. (I’ve already entered my own idea, and you wouldn’t want to lose to me, would you?) The contest ends Feb. 14.
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Andy’s approach is a great way to brainstorm problems or stimulate thinking when you’re stuck — as we administrators often are. It reminds me of a chapter from Roger von Oech‘s classic book on creativity, A Whack on the Side of the Head. The idea, as Whack describes it, is to let a random piece of information stimulate your thinking.