Aston University’s Bright Ideas initiative was launched last year as a way for staff to submit their ideas for positive change within the University. Since its launch in February 2010, Bright Ideas has received in excess of 270 ideas from across the University, covering staff and student well-being, the campus environment and efficiencies. Wherever possible, the Executive team has taken steps to implement ideas or recommend implementation at a local level. Of these ideas, 160 have been, or will be, implemented.
It’s now 12 months on and Bright Ideas is changing. Each academic term there will now be a theme to help focus ideas submitted to the Bright Ideas initiative. These themes will support the University’s Aston First culture, efficiencies and income gains. The theme for the rest of this term will be ‘Improving the Student Experience’ so if you have any ideas around how you think this could be achieved, please send them in. This doesn’t mean that you can’t submit ideas about any other aspect of the University; any ideas are always welcome! Your ideas could involve cutting paper work, speeding up processes, saving costs, providing better service or improving processes.
A number of volunteers from across the University have been identified and will act as 'Champions' of Bright Ideas, encouraging you to get involved locally and assisting with implementation where inter-departmental communications are key to identifying opportunities for implementation and kick-starting it. View the list of Bright Ideas champions in your area.
There will continue to be a monthly prize which will be randomly selected from all ideas submitted. This will now be a voucher for use at any one of the University’s catering or sport outlets. Five vouchers of £5 each will be allocated every month and in addition, there will be a main cash prize of £500 each term. This £500 prize will be randomly selected from the ideas that are implemented, so instead of talking about change, make it happen and get yourself or your team some extra money at the same time!
Here are just a few of the positive outcomes of Bright Ideas to date:
A revised ‘New Starter’ induction programme offered by the Centre for Staff & Graduate Development
A review of email guidelines is in progress
Improvements to signage on campus and enhanced information available to visitors on site and via the internet
Improvements to the promotion of Aston University at the graduation ceremonies held at Birmingham Town Hall
Promotion of well-being through relaxation methods and wider publicity of the blood donation service
Enhanced information on the University website regarding the Executive team and repairs to broken links
Local artists exhibiting work across campus.
There have also been a number of suggestions that are not appropriate for central implementation but that the University has encouraged staff to adopt locally. These include:
Staff uniforms for customer-facing staff
Recognition of special occasions such as staff birthdays
Sponsorship of specific charities and charity awareness days.
Aston First is about all of us getting involved in making Aston an even better place to work and study.
Words by Louise Russell