Empower 2020

An ASU IT Professional Community Day

We asked and you answered!

At the end of Empower, we asked you to provide a big idea of what you want to bring forward and actionize. The response was amazing with 30+ unique ideas!! 

Take a moment and read all the great ideas that came out of Empower and vote for your top 3 ideas!

Vote Now

(1) Collaboration Across University

(1) Collaboration Across University

Creating transparency in what UTO offers and does and highlighting the projects and people across the university that show the impossible is possible. One goal is creating cross-collaborative training and discussion sessions for how to analyze data and information that is put out across departments and groups. Providing tools, training and resources to leadership so that they can include delivery teams in discussions with customers and enable teams to evaluate needs and solution options is another goal. We can:

  • Use Slack groups to help randomize these groups and open discussions that would not happen in internal team discussions.
  • Utilize Culture Weavers/Ripples events to springboard and propel these discussions and idea-sharing.
  • Create a buddy system to get to know someone whose job and outlook is different from your own.

(2) Sustainable Technological Practice

(2) Sustainable Technological Practice

Do you feel pulled in a million directions? Are you unclear on how to apply the UTO Positive Core and ASU Charter and Design aspirations to your daily job? If so, your team might need to shift to a Sustainable Technological Practice. Sustainability is a key part of responsible innovation, not just an environmental practice!

Here's what we need:

  • Support from leadership to focus on a very few big-picture, cross-team projects as a priority (better quality results and solid unification toward serving students).
  • Scrum as a standardized, day-to-day way of life and productivity to cut down on overwhelm and overload.
  • Simplified (layperson-speak) values with a focus on day-to-day application, not just the C-level phrasing. What do the values look like in action? What does it mean for my team's roles and goals specifically? How do I contribute?
  • Regular "tips & tricks" sessions for frequently used software (ex. Slack) to ensure optimal software utilization (less churn and waste).
  • A focus on elastic (cloud) solutions, to ensure new adoptions are less likely to be orphaned.

(3) Embrace instructional systems innovation

(3) Embrace instructional systems innovation

Surviving the resource fallout?  During the crisis, we need to be ramping up on investment in instructional infrastructure while other universities are hunkering down and holding on.

What is going to replace the LMS to give faculty more access to instructional materials?

What tools or support mechanisms can we gather into one place for leaders and team members to help drive consistency in a time of uncertainty? 

(4) Data Power for the People!!!

(4) Data Power for the People!!!

Departments are asking for personalized training on how to collect, analyze, and visualize data.

UTO can provide this service to interested parties, let's work with Training & Development to organize the work and to provide completion/badges for the work.

(5) How do we create healthy tension within UTO?

(5) How do we create healthy tension within UTO?

Being uncomfortable is necessary for growth and innovation on a personal, team, and organizational level. Being put into new situations or having disruptions pushes us to find innovative ways to find comfort and new ways of working/doing.

How do we create a try/fail environment or culture that takes all negative connotations out of the word "failure"?

How do we make UTO a try/fail, agile, sandbox where people can get wonderfully uncomfortable?

(6) Keeping the human experience in a virtual workplace

(6) Keeping the human experience in a virtual workplace

The mode of learning has changed. How do we keep that human experience we share with each other, not just structured conversation but also the informal 1:1 discussions that build relationships and rapport.

  • What are the tools?
  • What are the processes, how do we integrate that human "water cooler" element into the virtual workplace?
  • How do we help people explore new projects, relationships, and opportunities in a virtual environment?


- Big Ideas -

New virtual opportunities to "chat" face-2-face with UTO team members on a casual basis.

"Speed get to know you" sessions on zoom with pre-planned questions for 1:1 or group activities that rotate.

Scheduled video conference with activities (such as those in Empower) but around various topics relating to world events, family, hobbies, etc.

Continue to utilize remote methodologies to bring teams together in collaborative environments.

Provide for increased flexibility to work remotely.

Use remote work tools to increase the porousness of boundaries between teams and enhance cross-team relationships.

(7) Adjusting Agile for your Team

(7) Adjusting Agile for your Team

Adjusting agile for your teams vs imposing agile on your teams. Being willing to adapt to the needs of your teams and stakeholders to provide value through the agreed-upon process.

(8) Empowering Employee Growth and Change

(8) Empowering Employee Growth and Change

Tailor professional development to the individual. Work with mentors, and leaders to help create a path for each individual. Gain the commitment from Leadership to allow time to cross-train others, develop employees, participate in a mentorship program and/or learn something new on a daily/weekly basis. Also, when you leave your position, leave it better than you found it

(9) Embracing short video/audio clips to communicate

(9) Embracing short video/audio clips to communicate

Given how easy it is to hit record in Zoom and share the mp4/m4a via a Dropbox link in Slack, our breakout group is wondering if remote communication could be improved by sharing short video/audio clips that allow us to deliver messages with the intentional tone, facial expressions, etc. A lot can be misinterpreted when using email/Slack text, and it may have a positive impact on culture.

OLLI @ ASU (ASU 4 You) has some great classes to offer those over 50 age group and we need more personal encouragement of this option as well as more BASIC super easy tech training videos for this age group.

(10) Utilize Technology to get Closer

(10) Utilize Technology to get Closer

Bridge the gap between physical interaction and what we now know as social interaction. Take all the smaller groups who are using Zoom or Slack, and bring more groups together to communicate and "see" each other. Various groups have "Water Coolers" , "Cafes", "Happy Hours", etc to open up and do games, jumping on the zoom or slack to chat in a more informal environment.

  • Expand the "ASU Community" channel if possible and maybe post subject manner to create a zoom on-demand type session; eventually can reach out to others if we can, depending on the security of that environment.
  • Issue a ticket/request to the appropriate group with the target of creating a culture to host that or possibly target a "themed" meeting like Happy Hours, Games, etc.
  • Expand ZOOM capabilities both inside and outside the classroom (clubs and other extracurricular activities, tutoring, etc).
  • Creating a Trivia Game in Slack for Team Builder during Zoom Session
  • Utilizing Zoom to engage in a big dinner. Sending members Doordash certificates and everyone eating and enjoying a celebration together through a Zoom event!

(11) Public Dashboard

(11) Public Dashboard

How can we make the analytics environment more accessible to all departments instead of focusing on data analysts?

  • Training materials and holding workshops on how anyone can utilize dashboards, analytics, and reports to make better-informed decisions for academic and administrative purposes.
  • Surfacing data to show department-specific contributions. A central place -- a unified dashboard -- to view all of the university's data. Greater transparency.
  • Making data tools and storyboards more readily accessible to all.
  • Dashboards to show the impact we as teams are having on the greater UTO, as well as UTO's impact on the greater University. The dashboard could start at a greater UTO level and could drill down into units and teams. Transparency for our teams to drive employee retention.
  • Data cannot just exist in tabular form and we need an inventory of available tools. How can we help people who are stuck in tables to become fluent in tools to help them see the data differently? How can we empower people to build it themselves?1

(12) Hybrid Virtual working & improved work life balance.

(12) Hybrid Virtual working & improved work life balance.

Virtual except when we need to be onsite. Knowledge workers know when physical action requires us to be onsite. We also know when human teams need to meet to accomplish goals.

Faculty are noticing Deskside support is far more efficient with support in our current modality where we frequently can't provide hands-on support. We could provide much more timely responses, and improved service offerings, if we bring this level of service delivery back with us when we return to campus.

(13) Upskill through the Power of Community

(13) Upskill through the Power of Community

Build skills ourselves and with our ASU communities such as with slack, day-to-day data, technology tools, etc.

New slacks come to the top of the list.

  • Scheduling slacks.
  • Direct messaging organization.
  • New integrations.

(14) Utilize 365 Groups for Storage & Collaboration

(14) Utilize 365 Groups for Storage & Collaboration

Using 365 Groups would allow the data and collaboration around that data to be managed by the department IT groups, with access management and controls. The data usage is very similar to OneDrive (its the same technology, just Group-based). 

Users sharing files via Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Suite, have those files tied to that user. When the user leaves their position they retain access to that data (and if they leave ASU, then the data is lost and needs Legal Office approval to obtain back for the group)

365 Groups have 25 TBs of space per group, enough for most groups of users. Also includes support for video storage (and recordings) via Stream, and a lot of other Office apps that integrate well, while also allowing client-side apps like Word/Excel. Best of all, all students, faculty, and staff are already licensed for these.

(15) A weekly ASU Podcast

(15) A weekly ASU Podcast

Big Ideas

1. Collaboration, learning, innovation, what's coming - ASU Technology Podcast

2. Had a great conversation catching up with a colleague on all things life, work, kids, etc... The other participants were fairly quiet, but one said they appreciated the opportunity to listen in to our conversations. Would be interesting to capture these type of conversations in an informal podcast-like recording that could be shared out.

(16) ASU Off the Grid by 2025-2030

(16) ASU Off the Grid by 2025-2030

The goal is to make ASU 100% sustainable.

For example, extend our Zero Waste initiative to 100%. Making strides toward moving ASU dependencies on the power grid. Other examples, vertical gardens, etc.

(17) Remember Staff!

(17) Remember Staff!

We prioritize students and faculty when we have large changes but it's important to remember staff as well. Even though we are UTO, not everyone is a techie.

  • How can we provide tech and resource training for staff so that they feel supported when big changes or innovations come to the university?
  • How can we continue to develop the community when distanced?

We propose offering more live and on-demand training and webinars with quick tips and tricks targeted toward staff.

Reach out to ASU staff and faculty to see what is/is not working and implement in the future. Build policies based on trust that include these ideas.

(18) Innovate the Culture

(18) Innovate the Culture

Breaking the silos of departments of communication and cultures. Starting at the leadership level and support system that can empower the breakout to innovate the culture.

Rotation of teams to get new ideas for communications and culture changes. This would allow people to create new ideas and ways to be better connected to each other and even inspire one another.

(19) Crowd-sourced grocery/essential pantry website/ app

(19) Crowd-sourced grocery/essential pantry website/ app

Clearinghouse for people to contribute or ask what they can offer of what they need. Mainly essentials: food, toilet paper. It would be a by the community, for the community website/mobile app that helps users search real-time availability on “essentials”

Users can update a form on some basic metrics:

  • Product Name
  • Category
  • Store Name
  • Address
  • Price
  • Quantity available (Less than 10, More Than 10, etc)
  • Rush (Busy, Moderate, Slow)

Automatically updated with the latest timestamp. (See Gas Buddy for example on how crowdsourcing helps people find the cheapest gas near them in real-time).

Originally, we saw this as an opportunity for users to proactively do themselves across any of the stores they visit, and then the idea evolved such that perhaps the IT community can host/contribute to a pantry, where members would contribute essential items for others in the community to partake. Users would still use the website/mobile app to enter data as to what they're contributing and what they're taking

(20) A Game to Orient People to Resources

(20) A Game to Orient People to Resources

This came from our discussion that it's amazing how many employees at ASU don't know about resources available to them, particularly Service Now.

Thus, perhaps we could create a game for them that could be clickable in a banner in MyASU, it might result in a keyword for Sun Devil rewards points. And maybe this could also be a VR experience in the future, too!

(21) Measure the effectiveness of online class (sync/async)

(21) Measure the effectiveness of online class (sync/async)

Create new pedagogy for online teaching. Building engaging and rigorous online learning experiences; metrics and support to measure success.

  • What does success look like?
  • How do we provide successful instruction?
  • How do we decrease that gap?

A road map of what is the ideal - steps in between.

(22) Ethical Innovation

(22) Ethical Innovation

Creating a diverse group to explore the ethical impacts of IT and its governance.

(23) Sustainable innovation requires intentional pacing for goal setting

(23) Sustainable innovation requires intentional pacing for goal setting

Setting realistic milestones - able to reach the milestones without burnout.  Especially right now, the pacing is important because we can't escape our computer - when can we shut off considering that everything seems like an emergency. We have goals. We have products. We need to mature the cross-product planning process.

(24) Concierge Service

(24) Concierge Service

Triaging questions to the correct levels and using the tools we have to respond in a timely manner is essential in the Experience Center. New ways to incorporate the technology we have to make the experience better, especially with our current social distancing situation, is key.

In a hotel, the concierge is more action-oriented than just an information center.

  1. Once you identify yourself to that desk the concierge may notice that you are experiencing a problem (I notice you having difficulty with VPN) and instead of waiting for you to contact them they may reach out to you.
  2. Or when you are scrolling up and down a page an AI might check to learn what you are looking for that isn't there and perhaps create a feature request to add that information to the page.
  3. Multi-level so AI, Tech support, Tech Elevation, etc. like the Tech support we currently have it would be virtual but very interactive. 

It would have to be intelligent. Not overwhelming you with responses but instead sensitive to your needs and preferences. This may be more of an extension of what is already in place, possibly incorporating a video aspect to the Experience Center.

The first thing to implement -

  • Start with the faculty as a test case.
  • Starting Case to see how it would go.
  • BIG QUESTION maybe later bigger action - Just the virtual response to "how do I deliver my course virtually this summer?".

(25) Use Agile methods to ensure production stability

(25) Use Agile methods to ensure production stability

Simplification is key - stay focused on the underlying goal while keeping things as simple as possible at every step of the path. Break down large problems into smaller parts.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Communication between responsible parties is key; a clear breakdown in responsibilities is implied.

(26) DreamScape

(26) DreamScape

Concept - The integration of new technologies and industries - What other products can be developed?

(27) Situational Preparedness Simulations

(27) Situational Preparedness Simulations

With all that we rapidly went through due to our recent viral outbreak, we've learned that anything can happen this would be an idea to select a group of people, outside of the emergency readiness team, to workshop through a response to a predetermined situation. That information could then be reviewed and discussed in the ERT team and then the feedback could be given back to the team that worked on the simulation. We believe this could provide new and interesting perspectives as well as bring in the thoughts of those that wouldn't normally be the point of contact.

Take the lessons learned from this crisis and transition to an annual emergency planning cycle where we virtually try to implement the solutions that we currently implemented to determine how we can improve the process to be the most efficient and effective it can be.

Look at both the technical and cultural aspects of the transition to best enable success.

(28) The power of technology storytelling

(28) The power of technology storytelling

Use story-telling to share University cloud initiatives in a way that explains to those not involved in those efforts what they are, and how they will help different academic and business units. As technologists, using the structure of compelling storytelling provides us the ability to share compelling information with others while driving action.

More university-wide communications and targeted informational sessions to different groups to explain how cloud efforts will help them.

Engagement and Adaptation - include further and deeper discussion on knowledge sharing. 

  • Environment for Learning and Culture across the ASU enterprise
  • Adaptation to more technical sessions and sharing with function stakeholders
  • Share skills and experience
  • Cross-skilling to promote growth

(29) Zoom Tips Tricks & Etiquette

(29) Zoom Tips Tricks & Etiquette

Zoom best use, tips and tricks, and telecommuting etiquette guidelines for continued use D.C.(during corona) and how we continue as to move forward A.C. (after Corona). We're a prime candidate with the new Zoom research center coming in the Valley. Maybe like dreamscape, avatar, or virtual meeting rooms.

(30) Sustainability in product deployment

(30) Sustainability in product deployment

Need to educate and encourage people to look beyond their immediate needs and consider for enterprise deployment (and support) when trying out new products. Perhaps we create a checklist of items to consider when piloting a new technology at ASU.

(31) I NEED A HUG!!!

(31) I NEED A HUG!!!

A virtual hug that you can actually feel!!!

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