Transforming Kings College

King’s ‘Vision 2029’ strategy is to become a world top 20 institution. Currently ranked 36th, this Russell Group university has embarked on multiple, ambitious change programmes covering processes, systems, people and its estate to help it achieve its aspirations. Set against the background of increased student numbers, more demands on research, student satisfaction and competition around league table and NSS results there has never been a period of such unprecedented change.

King’s first staff survey in 2015 indicated strongly that staff did not feel change was managed well. This is not surprising given the amount of change thrust on the Higher Education sector over the last five years. One of the strategies to begin to address this was to embed change management into the Bush House programme; an ambitious capital estates programme to extend the Strand Campus into the former home of the BBC World Service.

King’s had never had a dedicated change management resource before and the small change team faced multiple challenges including a refuted vision and highly resistant academic stakeholders. Other challenges included establishing credibility, remit, scope, integration and benefits realisation, all requiring a tenacious and creative approach from the change team. Almost two years on with one third of the programme complete the change team have been able to demonstrate significant impact in supporting both academic and professional services staff transition into new ways of working.

Across the broader institution in order to support the 300+ staff delivering King’s transformation programmes, the Transformation Network was established to provide training and networking opportunities. This network is part of a broader transformation around the Professional Strengthening agenda. For the first-time transformation was clearly defined as encompassing project management, change management and process improvement and training pathway was established from beginner to practitioner status across all areas. With the absence of formal portfolio management at King’s this network has supported the gathering of key programme information to start to fully understand the breadth and depth of transformation. It has also started the development of a common language around definitions, templates and methods of delivery.

You can hear more about the journey, challenges and lessons learnt around embedding change management at King’s at PMI Synergy, 2nd November.

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