Our R&D work seeks to answer the following key questions for the benefit of our customers in research and education:
- Which of the many new technologies could really make a difference to people working in a research and education context?
- Given the many ideas generated by people inside and outside our sector, which should Jisc focus on?
- Which ideas have the potential to be rolled out as solutions on a national or regional scale?
We collaborate with customers and stakeholders to generate, evaluate, prioritise and action ideas, while responding to strategic requirements from key sector bodies like HEFCE.
Phases of innovation
This underpins all our innovation and, in order to understand the most significant technology on the horizon for administration, research and learning, we analyse and bring our findings to our technology foresight think tank. This group and a wider team of thought leaders help us to understand these signals from an objective, external environment. In future we intend to make these insights available for public consultation.
We encourage an appropriate balance of innovation and caution, mindful of the current drivers as well as financial and legal pressures on education organisations.
Working right on the edge of what's possible, we explore new ideas and emerging technologies for the benefit of our UK customers and identify the most promising ideas to work on further.
We try out the most promising ideas with a small number of organisations to see what works and whether they offer real world benefits. If they do, we move them to the beta phase.
We develop the alpha prototypes into beta services and test the very best of them with a wider group of people. If a beta service addresses real customer needs, and if it can be scaled up and delivered sustainably, we begin the process of turning it into a production service that can be rolled out across the target regions and receive our continued support.
We treat each product or service independently so that we can be flexible and aim to react quickly to immediate opportunities so that our customers really can take advantage of the latest thinking. We’re committed to ensuring that any potential ideas respond to a clear customer need. As part of this our work undergoes a continuing cycle of evaluation and improvement, which continues for as long as the service or product is live, and may sometimes involve retiring services to ensure we remain relevant and solutions are cost-effective.
Case study - Summer of Student Innovation (experimental > alpha > beta)
Students submit ideas to improve education, research and student life. Those selected, including Call for Participants, are funded and students work on them for three months over the summer.
The most promising ideas are supported further to test them with a small number of universities, colleges and learning providers. With our support, Call for Participants developed a prototype service for researchers.
Successful prototypes are scaled up to test more widely. With our continued backing, Call for Participants spent 2014 delivering a service to researchers from 105 UK universities and we are now working to see how it can be delivered in a sustainable way to the whole Jisc community.
Read more about our ongoing Summer of Student Innovation project.
Case study - Moonshot service (alpha > beta)
As part of our investigations into filling a gap in federated authentication for researchers, Moonshot emerged as a single, unifying technology that enables you to effectively manage access to a wide range of web and non-web services and applications. During this stage, we tested it with a range small number of research and academic institutions.
Between 2013-14 we ran numerous beta projects in the UK and abroad. Having proved successful, Moonshot will be available to our community as a production service in March 2015.
We have three key processes that help us move through these phases of innovation. Technology foresight explores which new technologies offer the most promise. Co-design allows us to decide which ideas to pursue by working with strategic thinkers from the sector. Product management helps us to decide which ideas should move along the pipeline to a new phase.
Our innovation is designed to be:
Our customers are at the heart of our R&D process, whether it's explaining the challenges they are currently facing, reflecting on our pilot projects, or sharing feedback on new services, ultimately we want to deliver new solutions that will work for them.
The student view is also crucial and our regular Summer of Student Innovation offers us fresh insights into what students are looking for.
We also collaborate with people outside the Jisc community where we believe that those partnerships will deliver benefits.
We work closely with our customers in higher education, further education and skills and in research to decide on the ideas we pursue so that all our R&D meets their needs from the initial idea to the end solution.
By embarking on carefully targeted activities we can ensure we give those projects the very best chance of delivering sustainable benefits to our community.
We react quickly and get things moving, taking bold decisions to ensure that our portfolio remains aligned to customer priorities.
We seek a balance of risk in our activities to make sure we are regularly delivering services that add value to our community while taking controlled risks to explore new and uncertain areas that have the potential to offer still greater benefits.
Find out more
If you want to know more about our R&D contact us at [email protected].