I have never attended the UCISA Leadership conference before, but after the 2020 conference was cancelled, I was given the chance to attend the 2022 event. This was the third in-person conference I have attended since March 2020.
This year’s much-anticipated UCISA22 Leadership Conference will look ahead at the future challenges and opportunities for digital leaders in education. The theme of conference is Digital Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World.
This was the last day of the UCISA Leadership Conference, ending at lunchtime. We were in a different space, which though more impressive, was not as comfortable as the space used on the first couple of days.
Great opening session from Heidi Fraser-Krauss on her role of CEO at Jisc, where Jisc has been, where Jisc is, and her vision for Jisc going forward.
I did like this quote from her presentation.
There is something written by “John” in every university which was created twenty years ago and is crucial to the running of the institution.
There were lots of questions for Heidi at the end of the session, which for me shows that people found her presentation interesting and useful. There were some really positive comments on the Twitter as well.
I did think that the next session, What can your organisation learn from Formula 1? with
Adrian Stalham, Chief Change Officer, Sullivan and Stanley wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but it was in the end one of the highlights of the conference.
Business models break, new ones develop, technology evolves, regulations are revised and customers alter buying habits. Every industry is witnessing change, and Formula 1 is no different; as a multi-billion dollar sport it has seen unprecedented change in the last 20 years. Above all, Formula One’s leadership teams have had to communicate, manage and implement transformation strategies, bringing their teams with them, ensuring that they make the most from embracing change.
I did a sketch note of his presentation.
Adrian presented some of the key principles from Formula 1 that can be implemented into teams to drive high performance. He opened his talk with a 67 second pitstop from the past and how today the Formula 1 pitstop can be less than two seconds.
He talked about the punks, the pirates, the mavericks and the rebels in the context of leadership within Formula 1. How the smaller more agile players managed to beat the big names in motorsport. They often had alignment across their teams through clarity of purpose. Where they had disagreement, they were open and honest, but once a way forward was in place, the team committed to that.
He also brought up the importance of focus and trust. I really enjoyed the talk and learnt a lot from it.
I did think about skipping the Cyber Security sessions, but in the end stayed and glad I did. It made me think that cyber security from a leadership perspective is as much as about contingency planning, disaster recovery, reputational damage, is as it is about trying to ensure that the network is secure as it can be from attack.
There was one slide I could share, which shows I am not the only one to draw.
We were asked not to tweet about some of the stories we heard, so I also won’t blog about them either.
There are [REDACTED] interesting [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] from [REDACTED] in this [REDACTED] on [REDACTED]. #ucisa22
— James Clay (@jamesclay) March 31, 2022
What I will say the stories were informative and illuminating.
In a world where cyber attack is an ever- present risk, four CIO’s who have guided organisations through an attack share their experiences, observations and the lessons they and their institutions learned, alongside Jisc CISO Steve Kennett whose role gives him an almost unique ‘ birds eye view’ of the incidents the sector faces and the responses made.
I think I can make a comment that rogue or shadow IT we often see in universities is a real risk and that cyber security understanding is critical for all levels in an organisation, especially the impact that attacks can have.
Overall I enjoyed the conference and found that it exceeded by expectations. Despite being labelled a leadership conference, I was expecting to see and hear much more about the operational side of higher education IT, but was pleasantly surprised by how many sessions were on leadership and transformation.
I will be planning to attend the UCISA Leadership Conference next year.