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During a Corporate Plan cascade briefing, concern was raised that some internal processes were considered barriers, not enablers, to being competitive and growing external funding. To explore this it was agreed that a research centre in SEBE (COCIS) would be used as a case study to identify process improvement opportunities that facilitate external funding growth and enhance commercial areas ability to operate in streamlined processes. This targeted intervention was undertaken through a hot house. The hot house was an intensive solution focussed approach that used collaborative and creative working to explore the issues and build understanding among participants. Although challenging at times the hot house resulted in a number of actions that are positively impacting on the financial sustainability and research in COCIS. Many of these will be beneficial across the university including:

  • Informing the development of different contracts options and a move to HR online payments and claim forms. 
  • Creation of a portal for external clients to engage with.
  • Provision of generic business cases for use as part of the staffing authorisation process that can be adapted by university staff to ensure they reflect their nuanced requirements.

The actions following the Hot House will, in the fullness of time, enable a scalable approach to delivering research and commercial activities by tapping into a pool of available talent empowered by an entrepreneurial and global mind-set.


Further information on these and other actions is available from v.heathwood@napier.ac.uk


A key outcome of the hot house exercise is the lasting beneficial impact its collaborative and creative working had in building strong relationships and understanding among participants. One example of this is the collaborative creation of the Built Environment Exchange (details here).


The success of this hot house is one example of how colleagues are using our university values and making the interconnections needed to take action to support delivery of our Strategy 2020 growth targets. A report outlining the event, including learning from the Hot House, is available here.