Making small changes in digital practice

Marginal Gain and Digital Capability

Making small changes in digital practice
Making small changes in digital practice

I was recently looking at the visitor and resident map I had drawn around my own digital capability and practice and was wondering what I could or should be doing that would make a big change to my own practice. Later in the day I saw a story on the BBC Magazine site about Marginal Gains

“The doctrine of marginal gains is all about small incremental improvements in any process adding up to a significant improvement when they are all added together.

It is perhaps most easy to understand by considering the approach of Sir Dave Brailsford. When he became performance director of British Cycling, he set about breaking down the objective of winning races into its component parts.

Brailsford believed that if it was possible to make a 1% improvement in a whole host of areas, the cumulative gains would end up being hugely significant.”

The British Cycling team made small changes, but the cumulative impact was significant, and it got me thinking about the small changes that we make in our individual digital practice. James Clay and I were discussing it in the context of the Jisc Digital Capabilities Codesign Project, simple things like having outlook calendars visible by default makes it easy to schedule meetings, as does blocking out time in the calendar for big activities such as writing papers, or even reading reports and journals, rather than being frustrated when that time is “taken”.

We started to think about the small ideas, about changes to practice that people are making all the time and whether they do add up to a significant impact, and that it might be worth making a note of them and then tagging them under different activities so that others might be able to benefit from the same changes.

We’d love to hear of any tips and or marginal gains that you’ve made in using technology, and whether there’s been a significant return on the small change.

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