Case studies - One year on

The Focus Programme was launched a year ago, and some of you may be wondering about the ground we've covered and what lies ahead.

Focus is about smarter working and controlling costs so that the University can continue to invest in research and education without a corresponding growth in support costs. It's about working together, reducing complexity and removing duplication. Over the year, Focus has been working with teams across the University that want to improve their ways of working.

We've learned a lot in this first year, and the bright ideas that people bring for improving local ways of working is something that we're recognising time and time again. Over the next year, we plan to run more Continuous Improvement Practitioner training and more Leadership for Continuous Improvement training. We'll also offer opportunities for colleagues in departments, faculties and divisions to learn practical tools to help them make local service improvements. We want to make Focus approaches more widely accessible so that more creative and valuable ideas can be realised.

We've also learned that large-scale projects are only one part of the picture. So that more people can participate in improving processes spontaneously and locally, Focus is developing a 'Mini Projects' approach for finding quick and effective solutions to smaller problems. We're currently working with a number of teams around the University to pilot this ground-up approach, and we look forward to making support for mini-projects widely available over the coming year.

It has been quite a journey for the Focus team itself, which has seconded and developed two cohorts of Continuous Improvement Practitioners (15 people). These are University staff on secondment to Focus who have been trained in process improvement, are delivering Focus projects and will take their skills back to their substantive roles, post secondment, to lead process improvements within their local areas.

Focus has collaborated this year with lots of people in diverse roles across the Collegiate University. I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who has contributed – and to extend the hand of welcome to others who would like to get involved in future.

We are delighted to share with you here some case studies of Focus initiatives from around the University to improve processes and 'work smarter'. Some of these have been enabled directly through Focus projects. Others have been initiated by individuals whose interest was sparked by Focus training and tools which they've begun to apply within their area.

I am delighted to see how Focus is energising and equipping colleagues in the improvement of processes and services: Focus is contagious!

These are early days for Focus, and adopting, adapting and optimising approaches to work well within our University environment takes time. I have no doubt that it is time well invested.

I hope you will be inspired by reading these case studies – and hope they may spark some ideas.

If you would like to explore any ideas with the Focus Programme, please contact the team by email: