“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
― Michelangelo Buonarroti
As you have probably guessed I have gone “off piste” again this week. The #octel mooc is looking at project work, success/failures and risk management and how particularly when technology is involved you need to plan and plan well. Now I must admit that if you are unfamiliar with project planning then this will be really helpful to you – however at my University we are all over this topic, I do this stuff all the time.
In fact as an institution we are reaching the stage where our requirements and committees and approval routes are having a negative effect on our ability to be “Agile” and move at the speed required to keep current with modern technology as well as raising the cost of our projects.
So I am going to put the opposite argument and say we should put our effort into doing more things and expect some things to fail. Rather than putting so much effort into avoiding failure that we can only deliver a few things.
This TED talk explains why that is now the correct way to do this.
Oh – you should still do some project planing, so you know what it is you are trying to achieve! Also this is Education and thus affects peoples future, so if what you are doing is going to get people killed or cause them to fail the course – do avoid those risks! But if its a risk like a lesson going wrong – do it, Jump!
I should point out this is not a criticism of my institution – all institutions that are like us (big, existed a long time, successful, good reputation) will have similar problems. In fact we are taking steps to avoid the problem with an innovation fund so that we can just do stuff because it looks like a good idea. I want to call it the “It might fail, fund” but sadly a more sensible name will probably be chosen.