Building the HEAT network


We spoke in the last reading group about building the Higher Education and Theory network in connection with other parts of the university and other institutions. I’ll try to write a bit more about this when I get a moment and it would be very helpful to read other people’s thoughts about effective and efficient ways of doing so. I was recently sent this article about ‘Building an Effective Impact Network’ and – although it is written in what (well, to me at least) feels like an over-reliance on policy-speak and (because of its context) seems to possess a rather instrumental view of networks that is overtly focused on impact – I wondered whether or not the principles it lays out could be of any – self-critical or productive – help in (re)focusing the HEAT network?

In this and a related article, it sets out the following four principles and five associated processes:

  • trust, not control;
  • humility, not brand;
  • node, not hub;
  • mission, not organization
  • Clarify purpose;
  • Convene the right people;
  • Cultivate trust;
  • Coordinate actions;
  • Collaborate generously

One thought on “Building the HEAT network

  1. Thanks for posting this Matt. I think the article make some useful points. I’m sure the HEAT team think there is a clear purpose to the group but maybe it could be clearer to others? For me,the group is cerebral, which is good, but needs a wider purpose. I value reading the articles and especially hearing what others have made of them, it develops my understanding, but I worry about the time invested in doing this. Likely, these feelings are all part of the instrumentalist approaches we are discussing, but ‘time’ seems to have become even more of an issue for academics than it was. With WAM asking us to account for every hour of our working life we have to fit ‘scholarship’ in allocated hours; it is not integrated in our practices.
    I have tried to develop networks and these have been called ‘talking shops’ in a derogatory sense. Reading, learning, understanding are not now enough on their own. We must do something with this knowledge- impact. I must admit to some sympathy with this viewpoint. What actions can we take arising from participating in the group?
    I know your interest is in philosophy, and the connection with another university with similar interests may lead to a greater focus on this. Maybe this will lead to HEAT attracting ‘the right people’, but I am not sure how many of them there would be across the whole university (if that is HEAT’s aspiration). Unfortunately, I don’t think philosophy is that accessible to the average academic. Ironic, with most of us having PhDs!
    I wanted to respond, but it feels like a bit of a ramble. I hope there is something of use.

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