Go big! Leading disruption from the top of the wave

February 28, 01:00 pm - 01:40 pm AEDT

The world is disrupted, and the future is changing. The biggest challenge of disruption is that you know it is coming, but you don’t know when or where.

You need to go big to survive. That means you need to boldly drive transformation across the board, to prepare your organisation to and be able to adapt quickly. There’s never been a better time for project leaders – but the game keeps changing.

This is a story about how an organisation (a University) has delivered a series of outrageous strategic projects to confront the existential risks that face us.

Universities face significant challenges, from reduced government funding, increased competition, growing customer expectations, to disruption through technology and industry alternatives. COVID accelerated rapid shifts to online learning and a significant loss of international student revenue, for students who might never come back.

Furthermore, customers now demand an experience that matches the digital world they live in; a challenge for Universities often held back by a legacy of history and tradition, creating conditions ripe for digital disruption.

This presentation will address what it really takes to lead through Industry and global disruption at the same time - ensuring financial strength, the ability to adapt quickly, and the key role of projects to succeed. It will cover:

  • How Western Sydney University has taken a whole of organisation approach to transformation projects.
  • The critical role of projects and project management in shaping and delivering success
  • The continual reinvention that comes from challenging what we do across our core product, branding, presence and footprint, customers, however we work and across our people.
  • Leveraging the intersections between projects and business-as-usual
  • Measuring success and how Western Sydney University has not just changed itself, but is transforming who we are and how we are seen

This presentation will also include insights on:

  • How a suite of capabilities is required
  • Tools for navigating complexity
  • What effective governance means in practice
  • Surviving the truth that some things aren't working
  • A relentless focus on what really makes the difference.

As project professionals and experienced leaders and curators of risk, there is a time to be careful and conservative, and then there is now -  time to ‘go big’!

Executive Director - Office of Strategic Project Implementation and Improvement, Western Sydney University
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