Welcome back to school!

I hope all of you had a joyful vacation. Probably those of you with children missed the snow during the first part of the holiday, since it was so warm. At least in our neighborhood the kids were excited when the snow finally came.

As the new year just started ITM gathered 45 unit and department leaders for a leadership conference during two days. The first day had a focus on learning about stress and how we as leaders could work to decreases the stress among the personnel. The lectures were given by a psychologist and he explained to us how the brain works in relation to stress. It was interesting to learn how, for example, the oldest part of our brain, the so called reptile brain, works. It takes over when we encounter danger, such as when we see a snake while out looking for mushrooms. However, it can be trained if we force ourselves to get in to situations we are afraid of. If you are interested to learn more, for example, check out “Dagens nyheter”, since they recently wrote some articles about stress and fatigue.

The remaining part of the conference focused on how it is possible to increase the collaboration between the departments as well as between the departments and the administration. This was done in four set of groups works. This is a concept that we have tried several times with good success. This time we were for example focusing on how we better could use the separate knowledge in different department in writing larger future proposals. This has already been initiated with the circular economy initiative that has started. Furthermore, it will continue with an initiative on additive manufacturing. In the future we might see other collaborations focusing on big data, teaching etc.

Finally, I wish to say one more thing about the vacation. As I mentioned it was quite warm during especially new year. Thus, when it was +11C on the first day of the year I decided to dig in my garden to see if there were any potatoes left in the soil. I find a bunch of them so that we could fix a nice dinner. Who said that you need to wait for midsummer to get fresh potatoes in the new year!

Pär Jönsson, Vice Dean