Digivisio 2030 is a joint programme of all Finnish higher education institutions. It aims to create a future for learning that benefits higher education institutions, learners and society as a whole. All of Finland’s 38 higher education institutions have signed an agreement to participate in the programme, and a Programme Office was set up to co-ordinate the programme in 2020. The programme’s scenario is that Finland will have an internationally respected open learning ecosystem that benefits learners, higher education institutions, and society as a whole.
Digivision 2030 aims to achieve three main goals by 2030: a) a national digital service platform; b) guidance based on digital pedagogy, the learner’s path and shared data; c) support for change management in higher education. The universities and the universities of applied sciences are working together in order to achieve these goals. The agenda for change management is an important part of this work. It is described in more detail in this article.
Finnish higher education: Dual model
The Finnish higher education model comprises two types of higher education institutions: universities and universities of applied sciences. The mission of universities is to conduct scientific research and provide education based on it. Universities of applied sciences offer more practical education that aims to meet the needs of the labour market. Universities, which provide higher scientific and artistic education, award bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as postgraduate degrees, i.e. licentiate and doctorate degrees. Universities of applied sciences award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. All Finnish higher education institutions are independent legal entities and their main funding comes from the state budget. In the Digivisio 2030 programme, both universities and universities of applied science work together towards the common goal of an internationally recognised open learning ecosystem.
The Digivisio 2030 Programme
The world is changing fast, faster than we can imagine. Expectations and ways of doing things are changing too. There is a constant need to acquire new skills, and learning and expertise will take steps we can’t even imagine today. Finnish universities have decided to try to anticipate future needs and are building the future now. Digivisio’s goal is that by 2030, continuous learning and upgrading skills will be a natural part of everyone’s life. It is our duty as HEI’s to be the drivers of change and to work together towards this goal.
The Change Programme
The Change Programme is an important aspect of the Digivisio2030 plan. This support programme will help universities to implement the national digital service platform, to digitalise study management and application processes, to support the development of universities into open communities with knowledge-based management, and to provide individuals and society with access to data.
The Change Management Coordinators
The change management coordinators have three levels of responsibilities.They have roles in their own universities, in the Digivisio 2030 programme and in the Change Management Peer Support Network.
In their own universities, change coordinators are responsible for facilitating the development of a change management plan and defining indicators for their institution. They work with the support of their university’s senior management and under the guidance of the university’s Digivision Steering Group or equivalent. They also coordinate the process of operational and management change at the strategic and management team level of their institution.They ensure that up-to-date information is disseminated to enable decision-making within the institution and facilitate co-creation, multi-professional networking and cultural change in relation to Digivision. Together with the communication actors, they are responsible for communicating change to their institution and its stakeholders. The change coordinators are the main point of contact for dealing with practical changes and managing change throughout the organisation.
The role of the change coordinators in the Digivision 2030 programme is to act as the primary contact for operational change and change management support between the project and the university. They represent the university in the peer network of Digivision 2030 change coordinators. Their role is to liaise with other change coordinators from higher education institutions.
The change coordinators form a peer support network of change coordinators appointed by higher education institutions.The network is based on co-management, which means, for example, that network members are involved in planning the network’s activities from an early stage.The network is supported through induction, possible coaching, training, events, communication and other support materials.The peer support network will be facilitated by a Digivisio 2030 Change Coordination Project Manager, supported by a small group of change coordinators.
A peer network of change coordinators in action
The group of change coordinators meets online three times a week to discuss project issues. One meeting is for general issues and the other two are half-day meetings to resolve ongoing project issues. Different perspectives are shared as the project is a combination of change management and IT development. The discussions provide useful insight into ongoing developments and allow the HEI’s perspective to be taken into account in development.
The change coordinator’s work is diverse and involves many partners, which makes it a challenging and interesting task. With a group of coordinators it is possible to compare university practices and find ways to take the project forward. Extensive exchange of information strengthens the network and brings new approaches to light. Discussions about shared progress will create several smaller teams that might continue after the project.
Written for OEB Global 2023 by:
Satakunta Univeristy of Applied Sciences
Pia Saarinen, PhD (Biosciences)
Digivisio 2030, UH Project Director
University of Helsinki