Needs Assessment as a Learning Tool: Three Findings

Needs assessment can be used to determine what factors are causing a problem. Can it also be used to improve organizational learning? With my colleague, Dr. Denise Cumberland, I was involved in a project that sought to understand if needs assessment could be used as an organizational learning tool, in addition to identifying causes of a problem.  We worked with a Fortune 200 quick service restaurant chain and their “broken” new product development process.  Data were gathered from multiple stakeholder groups using interviews and a survey questionnaire. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design,… Read More

Online Learning & Centralization of Commuity College Systems

Workforce development training is an important part of the mission of community colleges.  Increasingly, students need and expect online courses to be an option for some or all of their programs.  I conducted a study looking at why some community and technical colleges offer more online programs than others.  Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development and strategic planning, group facilitation and action planning, and… Read More

Eight Areas to Rethink in U.S. Higher Education

I just finished reading The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, written by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring (2011).  Christensen is the noted expert on innovation from Harvard Business School. The basic premise of the book is that higher institutions education in the U.S. have attempted to emulate the model of Harvard, with several distinctive and very expensive features.  Colleges and universities have developed cost models that are unsustainable and most need to re-evaluate their practice and consider adoption of new models in order to be… Read More

Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders.  As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization.  In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits. Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.”  In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation,… Read More

How to Approach Diversity-related Change?

In workplaces, community groups, and other settings, we oftentimes seek to make things better for people from diverse backgrounds.  Sometimes we will benefit directly from those changes and sometimes we’re working with others to attain changes that will benefit society or an organization in general. Rod GithensRod specializes in innovation, design, and strategy through his consulting work and as a professor at University of the Pacific.  He helps leaders get results through using innovation and creativity processes, strategy development and strategic planning, group facilitation and action planning, and program and initiative development. … Read More