My “day job” as a service provider (IT) includes keeping the lights on, which means making sure the vendor and home-grown applications are functioning, managing several projects, fulfilling my leadership//supervisorial responsibilities to my staff, planning department/technology roadmaps, making sure my staff and our customers are happy, meetings, and dealing with emergencies in between. This is the reality of our daily work for many of us, not only in IT but as student affairs practitioners.  From an IT perspective, any changes we introduce must not have a disruptive and negative impact on our departments and their customers; this means changes must be incremental. Indeed, new projects present opportunities to think about and implement business process transformations. These projects take time, people, and resources and require navigating the university’s politics, personalities, and cultures. These all lead to the fact that we rarely have time to spend on experimentation to explore what may be considered radical ideas. Given the constraints and realities of our work, how can we find the time and place to experiment and explore new ideas?

I spend enough time on various social media platforms (Twitter, Linkedin, blogs, Facebook, etc.) to read exciting ideas from professionals in and outside higher education. Following twitter back channel conversations from the conference can be exciting because this is when folks share ideas to return to their campuses to implement what they just learned. I do wonder how many of these ideas ever come to fruition. Personal interest is one thing, but promoting ideas as part of one’s formal job responsibility/authority is more challenging. Even grassroots initiatives that may succeed at a small scale, at some point, will require institutional support for these initiatives to grow at a larger scale.

To student affairs and higher ed colleagues reading this post, how have you managed to find time to do your “day job” and experiment simultaneously?