This tweet from Joyce Seitzinger aka @catspyjamasnz earlier in the week got me thinking. Particularly as I have just passed my 2 month anniversary as an independent consultant.
Would love for the #FemEdTech fam to weigh in. @femedtech . What would you look for in an Edtech consultancy or #Edtech provider? I would like them to come with more diverse teams and display more respect for the work and people of their client organisation. #lxdesignhttps://t.co/NlohiGCELb— 👩🏻💻Joyce Seitzinger (@catspyjamasnz) 22 June 2019
I am simultaneously learning quickly and slowly about positioning my “offer” as an independent consultant working in HE. I am confident about my knowledge and abilities in all the education “stuff”, but the business side of things – accountants, different types of networking, that is a learning curve.
As a band of one, I hope that in partial answer to Joyce’s tweet, one of the values I always bring to any project that I am involved in is respect. Both for the people in, and the work they do for, any client organisation. If there is no mutual respect and understanding of the context of any project then it is more than likely going to fail.
Having experienced the other side of consultancy as a member of staff in a university, I have seen both respect and really worthwhile consultations, and, well maybe not disrespect, but a total lack of understanding of educational processes. This has lead to several rabbit in the headlights glances between consultants in a number of sessions I have participated in. And ultimately a not very successful outcome.
I think that is perhaps systematic of a different level of disrespect, or perhaps failure to understand just how things actually work from higher up the chain. This typically leads to situations where consultants are hired as the result of processes that aren’t always as robust in defining scope as they could have been.
I will never be all about “upscaling the value chain” of education services. I will always be about valuing, and empowering people in what they do, and could do. I will, in all honesty, probably not be able to tell many people “at the coal face” anything that they don’t really know already. However what I can do is bring objectivity, and see and present things from a different perspective.
I can see things from outside of the often foggy confines of politics of internal ways of working. Sometimes you do really need someone from outside just to point you to the things that might be staring your in the face, or to call out the elephant(s) in the room. I know I have benefited from someone doing that for me many times.
Working without the distractions of other institutional priorities and focus on the task at hand is something that I am increasingly enjoying, and bringing benefits to those who I am working with. So, if I sound like the kind of consultant you would want to work with, and you think you could benefit from finding out how Sheila Sees IT, then please do get in touch.