4 strategies to navigate the decade of disruption in higher education

In recent times, higher education has been portrayed as an industry undergoing significant disruption across all fronts.

Ambitious visions for 2050 are proliferated across LinkedIn, podcasts, the Accord and beyond, but the pressing question remains: how do we reconcile these aspirations with the current state? What actionable steps can higher education leaders take now to fortify their foundations and successfully navigate the next 5 to 10 years?

It’s a dynamic landscape, and higher education institutions are continually challenged to evolve and innovate to meet the changing needs and expectations of students, faculty and stakeholders.

Liquid advises Australia’s leading universities on how to progress and invest in four pillars that are foundational to this transformative journey:

  • Organisational Readiness
  • Student Experience (SX) Strategy
  • Resource Augmentation
  • Product and Service Innovation.

These pillars represent critical components in reshaping the higher education experience, from envisioning strategic directions to implementing cutting-edge solutions.

As we delve into each pillar, we get to the heart of organisational adaptability, student-centric approaches, resource optimisation and forward-thinking innovation, with the aim of transforming the educational journey and shaping the future of academia.

Best of all, they’re actionable and achievable now.


Investing in success: Unlocking organisational readiness

Organisational readiness is foundational to shaping the future of SX design, the only real revenue generator in higher education.

  • A strategic vision across activity sets the course, providing a clear direction for institutions to adapt and innovate.
  • Dedicated SX governance ensures that the student remains at the centre of every decision, fostering a culture of empathy and responsiveness.
  • Long-term capability uplift empowers faculty leaders and their teams with the skills and resources needed to embrace change and drive excellence.
  • Effective business case design prioritises the nuances of value proposition, securing buy-in, real commitment and the accurate communication of transformative initiatives.
  • Holistic roadmap alignment ensures that every step is purposeful and aligned with overarching goals, maximising impact and sustainability.

Together, these steps provide institutions with the ability to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape, ultimately enriching the educational journey for students worldwide.


Crafting the future: Elevating through SX strategy 

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, policy, technology and student expectation, driving an SX-centred strategy is the catalyst for true transformation, and ultimate survival.

  • Mapping the student communication and experience journey will illuminate the path, enabling institutions to understand and enhance every touchpoint throughout the student lifecycle.
  • Realising a ‘Connected Campus Experience’ strategy integrates digital innovation and physical spaces seamlessly, fostering an environment where students feel engaged and supported both on- and off-campus.

By embracing an SX-centred strategy, institutions can not only meet but exceed the expectations of today's students, delivering a holistic educational experience that empowers and inspires.


Empowering excellence: Unleashing the potential of resource augmentation 

Resource augmentation is a cornerstone of achieving real, and timely, results. Ensuring capability, capacity and cohesion within institutional resources guarantees the agility and adaptability necessary for institutions to thrive.

  • Overseen by a Centre of Excellence, this process can be guided by best practice and informed decisions, driving continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Dedicated business analysis and workstream leadership provides focused direction, ensuring that each initiative aligns with broader institutional objectives and student needs.
  • By fostering cross-discipline, cross-stream talent sharing, institutions can leverage diverse perspectives and expertise to tackle complex challenges and unlock new opportunities.

Through strategic resource augmentation, higher education institutions can cultivate an environment of excellence, improve pace and productivity, and enrich the educational experience for all stakeholders involved.


Revolutionising higher education: Advancing through product and service innovation 

In the fast-paced world of higher education, product and service innovation emerges, a little late, as a game-changer.

  • Through meticulous product and service design, institutions can tailor offerings to meet the evolving needs and preferences of students, faculty and staff, ensuring a truly personalised experience.
  • Embracing tech-agnostic and data-centric implementation ensures flexibility and scalability, allowing institutions to leverage cutting-edge technologies while preserving interoperability and future-proofing investments.

By championing innovation in product and service offerings, higher education institutions can foster a culture of creativity and adaptability, driving continuous improvement and positioning themselves at the forefront of educational excellence.

If you’d like to connect with our higher education specialists at Liquid to discuss the challenges you’re facing in the sector and how we can help, please email me at rosullivan@liquidinteractive.com.au.