Skip to content

A strategic approach to digitalization

Higher education as a sector must become far better at benefiting from the opportunities digitalization has to offer. While the sector has traditionally been strongly conservative, it also needs to be better at reaping the rewards of digital progress. See how we at KTH work with it.

On 22 November, KTH decided on its digitalization strategy  (in Swedish). KTH’s digitalisation strategy is based on the KTH digitalisation policy. The digitalisation policy, which I wrote about in the Vice President’s blog on 12 June 2020, explains how the concept of digitalization should be understood at KTH, and sets out the approach and principles that should apply to digitalization at KTH.

KTH’s digitalization strategy is the result of a comprehensive, structured and systematic work process. Assisted by outside experts, there have been a great many interviews with people in KTH’s operation, workshops with various leading bodies, benchmarking studies, and meetings with digitalisation managers from other universities. The strategy describes key strategic goals for KTH over the coming five-year period, and what conditions need to be met to ensure they are accomplished.

If an organisation is to be the best in the world at benefiting from the opportunities digitalization has to offer, its leaders must both support the work on strategies and invest resources in the change process. Beyond that, everyone in the organisation must then support the process by doing their part in bringing about change and evolution. The management can, after all, only lay the foundation for the change process; it’s the staff who have to adopt, understand and drive that change.

One of the most obvious development areas identified is the need for everyone to increase their digital skills. We rarely take the opportunity to improve our knowledge of how our digital tools work, or what we could achieve if we knew more about those tools. Or indeed the opportunity to increase our understanding of how to protect ourselves and our data, or of what actually happens when we interact with the system. This was particularly noticeable when the pandemic first hit, and we all quickly had to become adept at using digital tools for collaboration and video meetings.

There is huge potential in using digitalization, it really is a key issue for the entire sector. Realising this potential calls for courageous, effective leadership. Also commitment, desire and single-mindedness from staff and students alike. Are you ready to meet this challenge in your organisation?