Life at the Open Univeristy

It’s been a while since my last blog, I’ve been a bit busy getting to grips with my new role running IT Service and Operations at the Open University.

The OU is an interesting place to work. Being recognised as a market leader worldwide in distance learning is great, however continuous change and improvement is required to maintain that leadership. Many aspects of technology are brilliant. For example I’ve got a fully implemented Microsoft Lync system that allows me to seamlessly work in the office or at home. The delights of presence (knowing where people are and who is available instantaneously) and sharing documents are difficult to explain till you have got such a capability.  And seeing the organisation I work for pop up so often as a leader in many fields including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is very gratifying.

At the same time the OU is going through a programme of upgrading and replacing many of its core systems to further improve the organisation’s capability. We are also in the middle of a major desktop refresh programme which has quickly got to the top of my priority stack.

I am putting into practice many of the things I have talked about in previous blogs. This includes leading by example and continuous two way engagement and communications with both my teams and stakeholders. Using social media (I am already writing a regular weekly internal blog). Providing clarity and direction to a diverse team and many more…..

In addition the OU has some very unique aspects. The wide and diverse range of people I work with is amazing – everything from specialists in my own areas of interest (Leadership, Computing….) and also other specialists – yesterday I was talking to a leading researcher in brain surgery techniques who just also happens to be a specialist in data management as well. And soon I will be visiting the science labs where I will get to see rocks from Mars and the Moon… No two days are the same and never a dull moment. 

So overall, a great place to work, plenty to do and some really interesting and different aspects to the role.


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