Chancellor's Corner: OPI takes CU toward a culture of continuous innovation

Here at CU-Boulder, we innovate all the time in our research, teaching and service. What if we applied that same philosophy to the basic ways we do business across the campus?

Last fall at my State of the Campus address, I challenged the campus to collectively and individually innovate – to find new ways to get our work done, and serve our constituents. I challenged our administrators to find ways to build on our efficiencies and to go further in bringing forth new ideas and methods to reach our goals.

Today, I’m delighted to announce that we’re taking an important step in achieving that goal, and embracing this philosophy of innovation through the formation of our Office of Performance Improvement (OPI). The office will be headed by Jeff Luftig, who currently serves as the Lockheed Martin Professor of Management and Director of the Engineering Management Program (EMP) in our College of Engineering and Applied Science.

In his new role – as associate vice chancellor for process innovation – Jeff will assist our academic and non-academic units across the campus with improving quality and performance. He will help our campus organizations and offices to employ data-based analyses that will show them how to improve performance, preserve quality, and improve service to our students, faculty and other key CU stakeholders.

The OPI will provide academic and non-academic units across the campus with the tools, methods and resources necessary to make process innovations and breakthroughs. Jeff already worked with our Office of Information Technology over the past year in a pilot program based upon the Business Performance Excellence model: a set of strategies that seek to generate maximum value for clients using existing financial, capital and other basic resources. The result? Significant improvements in how one of our most important campus service providers does business and satisfies its customers.

The goal here is simple: create a permanent culture of improvement on our campus. Empower our employees. Consistently achieve our goals within our work units. Make innovations in processes and procedures to do business in new and better ways. Serve our clients and our stakeholders with renewed efficiency and better organization. Save money by being more efficient. 

I’m pleased we are able to engage these efforts by drawing upon an expert right in our midst. Jeff is a national authority on business performance improvement who has also taught in our Leeds School of Business and has led a consulting firm specializing in quality sciences and applied research for Fortune 100 and 500 firms in North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

He understands our work culture, values and mission because he’s been a part of it. Please join me in welcoming him, and in beginning an era of innovation in our work that is worthy of the innovation we see every day among our faculty, staff and students. 

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