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From Written Strategy to Strategy-in-Action 

Black and white picture of a woman looking up

“Diak will be needed until our world is a good world for everyone” summarises the purpose of Diak and explains why Diak is needed. This connects Diak to the big picture and verbalises the reason for Diak’s existence in our society. The world encompasses both our physical environment and the social environment all of us build together. Diak strives to create a world that is good for everyone. Diak does not categorise people or focus on specific groups or cultures: it wants to encounter everyone as an individual and make the world a better place for each and every person. Diak seeks, does and sees good, and nurtures helpers who want to build a sustainable and equal world.

The above phrase is a snapshot from Diak’s new strategy, which was launched in the beginning of 2021 (link to the strategy). The textual and powerfully visualized strategy summarizes well the outcomes of an intensive process, through which our strategic base, directions and choices for the future were co-created.

However, the process continues, and as all strategies, also this one has to be not also written, but read; not only read but comprehended; and in order to be comprehended, to be turned into actions and continuous dialogue on the meanings of these texts and actions.

Being part of the 3IN Alliance strategic collaboration entails that Diak is committed not only to its own strategy, but also to the strategy of the 3IN Alliance. As such, it also entails that instead of presenting our strategies to each other, we really need to stop and think what our written strategies mean in practice and actions – and how these practices fit into the strategy, goals and practices of the 3IN Alliance.

Values as Mirrors  

Diak’s strategy is based on the following three value statements:

Bold renewal. We challenge ourselves and society to change. We are ready to oppose mainstream narratives and practices when necessary.

Standing up for goodness. All our actions are aimed at making the world a more human and sustainable place. We seek, see and do good.

Honest encounters. At Diak, Christianity means that we approach all people and situations with an open and honest mind. We care about each and every person.

These statements can be used as mirrors to evaluate our choices and practices: If we choose to take this direction and if we take these actions in the 3IN Alliance, how well do they serve our own institutions’ strategies? How do they push forward our common goals? How are our values reflected in our actions? And of course, these mirrors are multiplied, as all the member institutions bring in their own values, strategies, suggestions and questions.

Being part of the 3IN Alliance strategic collaboration entails that Diak is committed not only to its own strategy, but also to the strategy of the 3IN Alliance.

Examples of Strategy-in-Action

Examples of 3IN Alliance collaboration, that resonate well with our value statements relate to the development of joint online courses, workshops, networking events and project proposals for the Erasmus Programme. The selected themes in these initiatives are for example:

  • Digital wellbeing in higher education
  • Higher Education Institutions as Drivers for Sustainability
  • Community Development
  • Human-Environment-Interaction& Climate Change
  • Social Innovation

These thematic focus areas are stricktly tied to our shared values. Consequently, they provide us with a common framework to teach, learn, and conduct research/RDI-projects in a way, that actualizes our own and shared strategies.

About the Author

Elina Ylikoski, Director of Innovations, Ph.D. (Econ.), Diaconia University of Applied Sciences is a monday morning enthusiast and positive chaos catalyst. Interest in boosting learning and magic dust. Keeps questioning why, but more often why not. Ylikoski leads Diak’s Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Unit, which is responsible for coordinating the 3IN Alliance collaboration, as well as the planning and execution of Diak’s European University Initiative proposal. She reports directly to Elina Juntunen, President of Diak, and Chair of the 3IN Alliance Board of Presidents.

Twitter: @DiakAmk, @ElinaOY LinkedIn: Diak, Elina Ylikoski

Read Diak’s strategy here:

About the blog

3IN blog offers perspectives on Inclusion, Integration and Involvement. The writers come from the alliance of diverse higher education institutions across Europe, sharing a goal: a world where no one is left behind.

The core purpose of the 3IN Alliance, and our ambitious long-term objective, is to co-create an innovative European University. Read more from our website.

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