The question that persist for many college and university administrators is what actions must they take to optimize all of their relationships in a manner that reinforces their own value to their community.
The Value Game is an ideal solution for this type of scenario (if you are unfamiliar with TVG, please visit this primer link). The first step is to identify the asset. The recent graduate is the university asset because they are the customer and the product being advanced. After all, the life worth of that graduate will reflect upon the institution that prepared them for professional service.
Next, we identify the players that will interact with that graduate over the course of their lives.
A* = The Graduate
- The graduate will interact with their Alma Mater
- The graduate will interact with their alumni association
- The graduate will interact with Their broader community
- The graduate will interact with corporations and entrepreneurs
Now, Let’s review each of the relationships and the economic incentives that drive them:
A-1: The graduate relies on the university reputation with players 1,2,3 as an extension of their own capabilities.
A-2: The graduate relies on the influence and success of prior graduates who hold an affinity towards each other in fraternal social networks.
A-3: The graduate will interact with their community for friendships, residency, recreation, and support.
A-4: The graduate will rely on strong and equitable employers / entrepreneur base where they may self-actualize as productive citizens.
Now, let’s review the relationships and incentives that each of the players has with each other:
1 – 2,3,4: The university has an interest in preserving the community because a motivated and educated workforce attracts opportunity far and wide in the form of business, travel, tourism and economic growth (Jacobs Externality).
2 – 1,3,4: Alumni seek to preserve the value of their alma mater because of the direct reflection upon their careers. It is in their best interest to support the university, it’s graduates, employers and the wider community.
3 – 1,2,4: The community relies on the university graduates and alumni to provide equitable and fair innovations that provide sustainable living standards.
4 – 1,2,3: Employers compete globally for talented, stable and engaged employees and service providers who are attracted foremost by a vibrant entrepreneurial economy and sustainable communities.
Data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom
The Value Game is now played by university administrators who direct university facilities, influence, and resources to bringing at least 2 of these four groups together. Each time there is an interaction, the university will capture the data associated with the interaction. That data can be compiled to form information which gives the university administrator knowledge about what their next action must be. University feedback to the community will tell all of the players what interactions create the most social value upon which all players will innovate in their best interest.
As the game continues over time, the university gains the wisdom to understand the values of their assets and surrounding community. The community will act in the best interest of the other players as a means of acting in their own best interest (Social Capitalism).
Data is the ultimate shared asset
Over time, the University will become the physical “Search Engine” for data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom in a community instead of just a vetting mechanism for book learned material. The University can now deploy this wisdom to their own internal programs and curricula as well as becoming an external reference source for government, industry, and economic development.
*(The University of New Haven is in no way affiliated with this post except I (the author) am a graduate of the UNH Engineering school (go Chargers!) and needed a realistic example that probably would not sue me – thanks guys)