Avans Hogeschool

Avans University asked our help to assess the impact of Covid on their existing digital transformation strategy and plans. The aim was to create a strong vision of the future of (higher) education as the result of digital and societal disruptions in society.

About the client

Avans University of Applied Sciences is a Dutch high ranked university for professional degrees. It is located in three cities: Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch, and Tilburg. The school has over 30,000 students studying 40 courses in 18 institutes. Avans employs over 2,900 employees. Avans University is very student-oriented and wants to be a frontrunner in digital educational solutions.

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"Scopernia's transformation framework has helped us to look far into the future and then translate that into a transformation approach for today".  René Theunis, Directeur at Avans University of Applied Sciences

Project Objectives

- Mapping the impact of Covid on society and education
- Establish an overarching, long-term vision on the future of society and education
- Create a clear and unique strategic position for Avans in this future, as a guideline for current and future projects

Description

Avans University was in the middle of rolling out their digital transformation plan, when the Covid crisis struck. They realized that the impact of this crisis could be huge and they wanted an additional layer on top of the existing digital transformation plans. This layer would help them include the impact of Covid on digital acceleration and societal change.

Avans University came to Scopernia to prepare them better for a future of both digital and societal change. We conducted a market analysis to map out impactful trends that are already happening today and that could become mainstream in the upcoming years. Being in the middle of the Covid pandemic, the impact on how the crisis accelerated new needs and patterns, played a huge role in the storyline. The newly created vision had to offer an answer on how to deal with these new needs and patterns as an educational institute.

During a firestarter webinar, which we organised for the entire organisation, we presented the most important trends and discussed the impact during several Q&A sessions. This was a first step in onboarding the broad organisation and delivering them more insights in the changing education environment. The workshops were organised in a smaller group, but we ensured that all departments and stakeholders were adequately represented in this workgroup. This way we had all of the needed perspectives to discuss central topics like (functions and formats of education, the location of education, the roles of the lecturer, the value proposition, new disruptors…)

It was extremely important for Avans to involve as many employees and students as possible, so they could create buy-in from the very beginning. Avans did not just want to co-create their new transformation strategy with us, but wanted to co-create it with their entire community. To accomplish this, we occupied the Chassée theatre in Breda for an interactive workshop with over 70 people. Divided in smaller groups, there was opportunity to brainstorm on several predefined key questions for the strategy. At the end of the day, the different groups presented their thoughts to the whole group. Every idea or insight was afterwards brought up in the workgroup to further debate on how to implement this in the strategy.

Intermediary sessions with the board of Directors were organised to keep them up to date with the project, as well as to include their feedback into the process. We were able to include a wide variety of Avans stakeholders into the writing process.

The result of our work covered a future vision on education in the broad sense, including topics such as hybrid and blended education, community building, impact of big tech and international universities entering the local landscape, the role and skills of the teacher in the future... The future vision also focussed on the unique position of Avans in this future and how it would remain relevant in a changing environment.

Outcome

- A shared-by-all future vision on the future of education
- A defined strategic position Avans wants to take in that future