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Guilds allow UTO teams to upskill, collaborate and learn from each other

BY SJEANINE – SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

Want to advance ideas on digital equity? Or collaborate on making the web more accessible? For UTO team members who are interested in getting more involved in opportunities like these and the community, there’s a guild for that. 

From advancing digital fluency and trust to sharing pictures of our adorable pets, there are more than 20 guilds for UTO staffers to participate in. And for those who want to start a new guild, it’s as simple as having the willingness to lead the group and share updates about your new guild with the UTO community. 

At UTO’s upcoming culture-building event, Engage 2021, guilds are front and center — see below for additional details about the upcoming fifth annual professional IT event for UTO.

Guide to UTO guilds

But what exactly is a guild? In the past year, UTO has seen the emergence of a number of guilds: communities of practice that are either self-organized or chartered, that center people around a common interest — these can be professional or just for fun. These guilds shine the spotlight on some of the innovative work being done at UTO to improve the services and experiences of all Sun Devils and the community we serve.

Guilds also play a key role in UTO 2.1, an expression of UTO’s reframing as a rapidly reconfigurable and entrepreneurial organizational structure that prioritizes and executes projects to better meet the needs of our community. "Guilds are like pockets of passion that allow people across UTO to learn and apply skills that align with their collective interests," said Christine Whitney Sanchez, UTO Chief Culture Officer.

UTO guilds have a leader or team of leads who regularly hold meetings, spark conversation in a designated Slack channel and more. Get to know some of the guilds who are making a difference in UTO right now:

Improving technology, process and self

These guilds bring a new eye to the everyday work of UTO, elevating it to improve processes and share accomplishments.

1. PeopleSoft Users is a university-wide group of enthusiasts who showcase new products, share the benefits of completed projects and function as a technical community for support. 

2. Product Ownership Center of Expertise is dedicated to helping improve the craft, disseminate knowledge about and promote best practices around product ownership and management.

“The Product Ownership guild is an exciting opportunity to bring a diverse group of people together to share and discuss ideas related to the craft of product ownership as we seek to create product solutions that help students, faculty and staff,” said guild member and Technical Product Manager Clint Gardiner.

3. Security & Compliance lives at the nexus of governance, risk, compliance and controls, with guild members providing the design structure and work to scale efforts across the university. 

4. The Digital Trust Guild at ASU seeks to bring together various practitioners, participants and leaders interested in topics around privacy, agency, trust and ethics to inform and advance our technologies and processes. 

5. Communications Ambassadors invites all UTO team members to be storytellers. This guild helps to tell the stories of the innovative work being accomplished across the organization, with stories publishing in the UTO Newsroom, ASU News and more.

Focusing on the betterment of others

In looking beyond UTO, these guilds share their expertise with the ASU community.

6. ASU Business Analysis Community of Practice supports all Sun Devils who are working to improve experiences and outcomes for ASU students, staff and faculty with business analysis mojo.

7. Digital Equity investigates the best ways to connect under- and unserved students, families and communities across Arizona by providing the tools, resources and skill sets needed to meaningfully participate in the increasingly digital world in which we work, learn and live.

Learn more about the impact of the Digital Equity guild work.

8. Responsible Innovation is seeking to build out its growing exploration and adoption of the Responsible Innovation (RI) framework within our technology, cultural and thought leadership efforts within the University Technology Office.

“Responsible Innovation is central to the Fifth Wave transformation of ASU into a National Service University and is a strategic focus of ‘how we work’ across UTO,” said guild member and UTO’s Trainer and Instructional Designer Barnaby Wasson. “Coming up with diverse perspectives when considering the impacts of technology development and process changes requires open reflection and committed inclusion, so the way the Responsible Innovation guild works with people across UTO and beyond is a clear shift in culture, just like responsible innovation is itself.”

9. A product of the Universal Design and Accessible Technology (UDAT) Working Group, the ASU A11y Guild is a university-wide guild to improve the user experience of students and staff with accessible web design.

Prioritizing personal and organizational health and happiness

Holistic approaches to the self are important not only for work, but also the balance with personal lives as well. That is the focus of the following guilds.

10. Culture Ripples is an ASU-wide community of practice that highlights and elevates the organizational culture across the university, while honoring the unique practices that make each part of ASU healthy and whole.

11. Culture Weavers is the UTO community of practice that works to create an inclusive and generative culture. Members meet bi-weekly to learn about and practice organizational development, mindfulness, cultural competency and methods for strategic collaboration.

“In my experience in UTO and at ASU, my fundamental shift, my aha! moment, is this: it is not whether Culture Weavers fits into UTO or ASU,” said guild member and UTO’s IT Project Manager Cheryl Johnson. “It is that UTO and ASU fit into Culture Weavers. We purposefully and intentionally choose to participate in experiential activities that affect change in us. We choose to be anew — to first change ourselves, then, be actionable, malleable, weavers of change.”

12. UTO Wellness is on a mission to foster a collaborative community with the shared goals of healthier and happier lives across the wellness dimensions. The guild promotes healthy living, personal growth, new cultural experiences and learning from each other.

Explore guilds at Engage 2021

On Monday, September 27, UTO members have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the 12 guilds above at Engage 2021, UTO’s internal IT professional development event. 

With this year’s theme being Guilds Assemble!, UTO family members can check out the diversity of guilds in a variety of workshops that are designed to impart new superpowers (like superhuman analytical capabilities and lightning speed strategic thinking), knowledge and skills — all organized by the guilds themselves. 

Editor's note: This story was co-authored by Stephanie King and Tristan Ettleman.

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