fundraising

It’s Time to Future Proof Your Organization

Joshua Robertson

Senior Vice President, Product Strategy

November 6, 2019

Alvin Toffler once said “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those that cannot write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”In today’s world, that means embracing continuous change will separate those who advance and those who are left behind.

This week I joined 10K technology professionals at the Gartner IT Symposium to learn about the latest technology, digital trends, and companies shaping the future.As I’m leaving the conference today I’m compelled to share the top 4 themes and concepts that I believe are relevant and timely for leaders of any organization today—but particularly for higher education leaders—to future proof and transform your institution.

1) Ignore AI at your Peril

Artificial Intelligence was everywhere this week: in almost every session and embedded in most of the exhibitors’ products. If you think your organization doesn’t need to really worry about AI for a few years, think again. Gartner estimates 70% of organizations will begin leveraging AI to increase productivity by 2021.Microsoft is now embedding AI into all those products we use every day—just wait until PowerPoint critiques your rehearsal of your presentation or PowerBI lets business users create predictive models in minutes. These innovations will allow us to work faster and smarter to keep up with the demands of the markets and audiences we serve.

Beyond increasing productivity, AI can power personalization on a scale that’s never been possible in the past, as we’ve seen with QuadWrangle and our own ability to help institutions achieve 1 to 1 personalization. It will help fuel engagement opportunities tailored to each individual’s interests, expectations, and incentives for action.

As you begin to adopt AI, make sure you develop an AI ethics and privacy framework to ensure that you’re safeguarding against bias with AI and offering the right level of transparency to your constituents.

2) “AND”

Gartner promoted and repeated the theme of “AND” throughout the conference. Think about hyper-personalization AND privacy, digital AND traditional, continuous innovation AND stability. While these may seem like opposing forces, the future of how we work dictates we embrace an “AND” mentality so we can pursue multiple futures at once, because betting on one outcome is too risky of a proposition as we all look to transform our organizations.

3) Culture Hack to Avoid Digital Fatigue

Digital fatigue is a real thing that can slow down or even derail your ability to execute your organization’s vision and goals, so what is one to do? Mary Mesaglio, from Gartner, did an amazing job outlining a 6-step process to push your organization to change your culture into bite-sized hacks. Start small and design hacks that remove any friction points slowing your ability to drive things forward.Think about meetings and communication as two places to start so you can begin changing culture overnight and free up your team to accomplish more.

4) Relationships Matter

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement around new technology and capabilities, but we must not forget that at the end of the day it’s people we serve and people who help us bring this digital transformation to life. Colin Powell was one of the keynote speakers this week, and he did a great job reminding us that building trust and lasting relationships with all our stakeholders is key if we truly want to drive innovation and a better tomorrow.

We all have a lot to do to continually future proof our organizations. Remember that the digital transformation of an organization should never be complete, but continuous. We can’t predict what will happen in 5 years, but we can start to evolve our organization to prepare us for that future today.

How can you future proof your campus? Contact us

Contact RNL

RNL works with hundreds of colleges and universities each year, helping those clients future proof their enrollment and fundraising strategies. Omnichannel communication, digital advertising, AI and automation, and 1:1 personalization are just some of the ways we are helping those institutions meet the evolving needs of their constituents.

Talk with our experts today and see what we can do for your campus.


About the Author

Joshua Robertson joined Ruffalo Noel Levitz in January of 1997 as a student fundraiser at The University of Georgia and has since served in several key operations positions including Program Center Manager, Senior Operations Manager...

Read more about Joshua's experience and expertise

Reach Joshua by e-mail at Josh.Robertson@RuffaloNL.


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