2.3 Promoting renewal through the organisational culture

Auditointiryhmän arvio

Innovation and creativity are encouraged in the UO community

The university has developed and maintains an open working atmosphere. The audit team found several examples of efforts that help strengthen a creative atmosphere, such as in-person working environments, digital platforms, and applications to encourage innovation and creativity. The University Innovation Centre (UIC), Vice Rector for Cooperation, Cooperation Management Group and Council for External Relations of the university are essential for ensuring renewal.

A certain atmosphere of creativity and spirit of inspiration was tangible both in the interior design work of the university environment but also throughout the audit visit. The Tellus collaboration environment supports the operationalisation of the strategy and the building of an interactive operational culture. Using interior design to support group working and interaction is an excellent approach by the university.

The organisational culture of the university encourages experimental activities with partners.  During the audit visit, the audit team was convinced that continuous interaction between the university and its external partners is at an impressive level. Collaboration is an integrated part of the university’s organisational culture. The audit team also found that the university staff highly appreciate their colleagues, the creativity, academic freedom, autonomy, and transparency in their work. On the other hand, it came out during the audit visit that some staff experience the organisational culture as traditional, bureaucratic, and led from the top down. The audit team recommends the university to ensure that the voice of the staff is heard at the highest levels of decision-making.

Well-functioning procedures are used to manage collaboration in networks

International networks of the university are essential to the renewal as well as societal engagement and impact of the university. The University of Oulu is involved in several local, national, and international networks. The Oulu Innovation Alliance is the most important local and regional network, involving all key stakeholders in the area, such as the city of Oulu, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Business Oulu, and local companies. The alliance monitors and evaluates the ecosystem. Important international networks of the university include UNIC, University of the Arctic (UArctic) and the Arctic Five, as well as discipline-specific networks. Horizon and Flagship projects and CityLab events and festival are also important for enhancing activities. According to the audit visit, University of Oulu researchers are trying to influence funding agency plans at EU level and Business Finland at the national level.

According to the audit visit, Key Account Managers are in contact with key partners and monitor the collaboration. The university has several tools to manage relationships and societal impact such as CRM, Power BI, and Overton. The CRM is used to store information regarding collaborations between the university and its partners. The audit team recognises that there are excellent practices for managing partner relations.

According to the self-assessment report and audit visit, the university has target-oriented cooperation with its alumni, and it utilises them in enhancement activities. The university is aware that it could work even more systematically in the area. The audit team recommends that the university could deepen and expand the alumni network with the international alumni who work abroad. For example, their workplaces and current contacts could be interesting as future partners.