What is Strategy in Higher Education?
Imagine that you are responsible for developing the strategy for your school or college. What questions should it answer? How will you know if it is any good?
Of course, the strategy should include the mission and values of the institution. Perhaps a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis will help. But they are only part of a strategy. In our view, strategy for a college must also answer these questions1:
- Customers: Who do we choose to serve? What are their needs?
- Value Proposition: What unique offer will attract and retain our customers?
- Constraints: What limitations on future choices will we accept?
- Education: What and how do we teach?
- Value Capture: How do we fund operations, improvement, and growth?
- Strategic Control: How do we protect our institution from the competition?
- Scope of Operations: What do we do ourselves? What do we outsource?
- Organization and Metrics: What organization structure, systems, and measurements should we use?
- Innovation and Improvement: How do we get better?
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1These questions and many of the concepts in this article are derived from “The Profit Zone” by Adrian Slywotsky and David Morrison.