IdeaScale Podcast – How NYU Was Able to Successfully Drive Change

NYU flag.

Change management is a crucial part of innovation. Organizations must keep moving forward for transformation to occur.

Universities are responsible for driving innovation. One 2018 study revealed funding for university research grew more than 5.5% each year over a ten year period.

New York University (NYU) is a perfect example of how to successfully enact change. The most recent episode of the IdeaScale Nation podcast details how they engaged their 4,000 administrators globally to drive the Administrative Management Council’s policy. As a result, they began hearing from new voices and rolling out new initiatives.

Driving Innovation

NYU is one of the largest private universities in the United States. In addition, it operates in 25 countries.

Michael McCaw, chairperson of the Administrative Management Council (AMC), is passionate about creating a constant stream of ideas to help their 4,000 administrators make more impactful decisions. He helps coordinate the feedback and ideas the AMC receives and turns them into policy.

McCaw is no stranger to NYU. Both his parents worked there before him, his father in public safety and his mother at the student health center. McCaw began his career at NYU upon receipt of his undergraduate degree.

He began in social work, and since then has held several positions in various departments. These include the library, academic advising, and the Office of the Provost.

McCaw’s various roles have allowed him to see the university through different lenses. He constantly seeks new change management opportunities to grow and help others.

McCaw says this is a fun time for the AMC because it’s turning 50 this year. The input it provides is valuable for delivering administrative feedback, scholarly output, and ideas about the direction NYU will follow.

The exchange of ideas has led to many new initiatives. It also allows people from all sides to participate and collaborate in ways that go beyond their daily job duties.

One example of this is the AMC’s contributions to newer higher education infrastructures. Students and faculty need support as the ways education is accessed change.

Students learn from experts and continue to grow while faculty members inspire learners. The AMC listens to and supports new change management ideas about instructional design and course development to ensure continual growth and success.

Instructor speaking to a class.

Collecting and cultivating ideas

The Open AMC uses IdeaScale’s platform to collect and cultivate ideas. It’s a way to reach out to those who have not spoken out in-person.

Leaders of Open AMC are nominated to the position on top of their everyday work. McCaw is actively involved with helping move their strategy forward. 

Open AMC gives participants the opportunity to share ideas with a community of active listeners who can then vote on them.

One idea McCaw shared was to start a peer-driven mentoring program. After posting it on the platform, he received support and was able to continue developing it. McCaw recalled this to be a “positive experience that led to upscaling the concept of AMC to be more inclusive.”

Since then, people are participating in ways that are comfortable for them. It’s a way to engage with people who normally might not participate in these activities.

McCaw enjoys telling people on-campus about ideas that are posted on the Open AMC platform. They can go vote and become more active in the change management process.

As more people get involved and begin voting on ideas, they can flex their own Open AMC muscles and work toward becoming the leaders of tomorrow.

Open AMC ideas include the observance of Juneteenth, dedicated implicit bias training, and different ways of performing existing tasks. To McCaw, innovation is about creating a noticeable shift and capturing the spirit of creativity. “It’s about moving the needle forward and empowering others. Innovation is only good if it is long-standing.”

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