In my last blog post I wrote about “contacts”. Contacts are absolutely necessary in life in whatever we do. Life is rich because of the contacts we have. Experiences shared with others are more meaningful than those in isolation. In University Alliances, we’ve grown and had many successes in numbers. Through our association with SAP, educational value has been produced by thousands of professors with their hundreds of thousands of students through University Alliances initiatives. We’ve made many rewarding contacts.
However, most of us also want to influence the community and not just participate in it. Collaboration takes us up to this higher level where we can achieve influence. We have had some excellent examples of collaboration produced in the community, including textbooks, research articles and theses, conference presentations, and industry consulting engagements. Since collaboration takes more effort and requires higher investment, and almost invariably requires compromises, it is expectedly ‘rare’. Still, to be a compelling community, a community of influence, we need to convert our contacts into even more collaboration opportunities and projects.
We introduced our portal, the University Allicances community (UAC), to significantly increase the number of possible contacts and to increase the likelihood that such contacts lead to collaborative initiatives of value to all of our members – professors and students – as well as to our customers, partners, and employees. Since we started publicizing our new site formally at the end of February, here in mid April we already have over 30,000 registered UAC participants, from all corners of the globe.
Think of the quality relationships, i.e. collaboration initiatives, that you can bring back to your campuses, institutes and firms, not only through the UAC participants, but also through the over 1.6 million participants in our international SAP Community Network (SCN). Go ahead and download and employ any and all resources you can find and use from UAC and SCN. But don’t think of UAC as a website, as a simple repository of academic informatation. Instead think of it as a portal, as a gateway to contacts AND collaboration that enhance your careers and influence your community.
Participate in the blogs, forums, wikis, etc. you’ll find here. Ask for assistance and assist others in the library and curriculum discussions. Take the materials offered, but also provide critique and feedback. Make suggestions for improvement and enhancement to our pages and portal concept. Contribute and share your self-authored academic and curriculum resources and self-searched literature references. Invite industry managers to hold guest lectures in your classes. Invite professors and students to your offices for ‘real-world’ consulting, research and course projects. Share all open job opportunities to help spur employment and the economy and post career advice for students in a blog. Keep those textbooks and articles coming in, as well.
Don’t underestimate the advantages of collaboration, especially those arising from the opportunities presented by the University Alliances community.