September 1, 2009
To explore opportunities for revenue generation at Queen's University.
In the November 2008 preliminary report of the Revenue Generation Task Force, several conditions were identified as being important to successfully drive more revenue at Queen's:
1. Incentives are critical - the right incentives, structure and support are critical. Specifically, the rules of revenue gains must be clear and known (e.g., 70/30 split). The unit generating the revenue must retain a significant portion of the gain.
2. Cultural change must occur - the university must create an entrepreneurial environment, one that encourages and rewards the taking of measured risks. Clear signals about the importance of entrepreneurship must be consistently made from the senior administration of the university.
3. Project champions must benefit - units that will benefit from a revenue generation idea are best positioned to lead it, with the appropriate support from the University.
Even with these changes, it is clear that no single, magic solution will solve all of Queen's revenue challenges. Therefore the Revenue Generation Task Force concentrated on understanding the culture and processes that would enable revenue generation at Queen's. It is important that revenue generation becomes "standard procedure" and is threaded throughout much of the regular work of the administration of the university.
The Task Force identified and prioritized a number of possible revenue generation ideas in its preliminary report (see attached). The Top 6 revenue generation ideas recommended for further exploration by the committee are listed in the November report, and are: (1) introduce diplomas and certificates; (2) open the Queen's store; (3) raise non-regulated student tuition and fees; (4) increase the revenue from food services; (5) raise residence fees; and (6) grow sponsorship and partnership revenues. Clearly none of these ideas will solve the university budget issues on their own or in combination. They will, however, help to increase the overall revenue to Queen's, as well as be examples to stimulate further thinking.
As discussed above, the Task Force feels that initiatives should be led and championed by the units that are responsible and knowledgeable in the area, and that also share in the benefits of new revenue.
Some changes recommended by the Task Force reports have taken place:
• Communication - there has been strong communication from the senior administration that there is an urgent need for change
• Innovation Fund - the introduction of the Innovation Fund is a positive move to encourage revenue generation ideas, with a direct route to receive funding
• New revenue generation ideas underway - including parking fees, certificate programs, food services, etc
Perhaps the largest change has been in attitude. "Revenue" has entered the lexicon in many areas at Queen's, and people across the university have started thinking about revenue and revenue generation. This is not enough, however, because it appears that many people are thinking of revenue generation investments from the Innovation Fund as akin to grants, and not realizing the importance of revenue and surplus generation. A clear understanding of incentives, which provide both unit and university incentive for investment in revenue generation, needs to be addressed.