Talk the walk – some early reflections on developing a strategic framework for Service

Over the last month we hosted a number of workshops to help shape and develop our plans around King’s strategic priority on Service. The process is now complete and a few concrete themes have emerged.

Maxine Taylor leading Service consultation

First is the commitment and passion for service.  This is not too surprising, as the idea very much developed in the consultation work for Vision 2029. As I have been pointing out in some of the workshops, the fact that we at King’s have put Service, alongside Education, Research, London and International, as a strategic priority was probably one of the most un-anticipated outcomes of that consultation process.  But that is important for two reasons – it illustrates that Service is authentic to King’s and demonstrates that the Vision 2029 captured the views of the King’s community.

Another theme is what we mean by Service.  This splits opinion – there are some (like me) who would prefer to keep it deliberately ambiguous given the diversity of examples across King’s. That said, there are others who clearly want a definition and feel it is important that we can articulate what we mean by Service internally and externally.  We are likely to split the difference and come up with a definition that is broad and inclusive.

A third theme is we are already doing this – it is quite humbling to discover the range of activities that are already occurring at King’s. What we have also learnt is the power of story-telling when discussing service.  People have amazing stories of what they are doing every day to make a contribution to society and their colleagues are interested and intrigued by these stories.  For Service, we need to ‘talk the walk’ and celebrate what we are already doing.

A final theme is the unifying nature of Service – everyone associated with King’s can make a contribution to Service, whether student, academic, member of professional service staff, or alumni.  This provides really exciting opportunities for people to get to know new colleagues and work together on ideas and projects with people from different backgrounds and interests.  It is clearly from some of the workshops we have already run that people really value the chance to mix it up a bit and that is something we need to build on going forward.

Shot from Service consultation

We will be hosting a Service Conference on 5 April, where we will be discussing in depth the findings from the workshops. To reserve your place please RSVP at service@kcl.ac.uk.