Ignite: Fueling Organizational Excellence

Ignite: Fueling Organizational Excellence features interactive workshops that focus on the tools and resources faculty and staff need to promote and sustain organizational excellence at UW–Madison.

In these hour-long sessions, experts will share ideas, methods, and approaches to help you build skills to support continuous improvement and organizational effectiveness. You’ll leave with stronger cross-campus networks, new strategies on how to improve your work, and the inspiration to implement your ideas.

The series is a mix of virtual and in-person workshops. Online sessions will be recorded and posted on this page for future reference.

You can register for the entire series or select individual sessions. There is no fee to attend but registration is required for each workshop. Session descriptions and unique registration links are included below, along with information on this year’s bonus miniseries.


The Office of Strategic Consulting is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible event. If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend this event, please contact Jenny Erickson. All reasonable accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.

Fall 2022

September 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (This session has passed)
In-person (Union South)

Leading Successful Change: Lessons from “Bending Granite”
Presented by Kathleen Paris, author and management consultant; and Matt Albert, continuous improvement team, SSM Health

A UW–Madison pilot program for addiction treatment goes national. An office staff, after years of troubled relationships, becomes a model for other departments. A hospital cuts its patient preventable accident rate to zero. A low-income neighborhood partners with Madison police officers. These are just some of the stories of real change captured in the new book, “Bending Granite: 30+ true stories of leading change.”

The authors of “Bending Granite” shared true, first-person stories and lessons learned, including examples of successful change here at UW–Madison. Attendees left this interactive session with new awareness of the three elements necessary for leading or supporting any successful change and with clear questions to ask themselves.

Find podcasts and more change stories at “Bending Granite.”

October 13, 10:00-11:00 a.m. (This session has passed)

Atomic Habits at Work
Presented by Rich Gassen, print production manager, Digital Publishing & Printing Services; and Jennifer Erickson, capacity building lead, Office of Strategic Consulting. This event is co-hosted by the Campus Supervisors Network.

This discussion-based session focused on building better habits into your work life, using the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear as a guide. Clear writes about habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. His book has sold over 8 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages.

“Atomic Habits” describes several proven techniques for building new habits (or ending bad ones), which were covered in the session. Topics included identity-based habits, changing the cues to direct you to better decisions, habit stacking (building upon habits you already have), and environmental design improvements. The presenters also shared some stories, as well as additional resources.

Event Recording

November 10, 10:00-11:00 a.m. (This session has passed)

It’s Not the Destination, But the Journey: Intentionally Creating a Workplace Culture that Values Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Presented by Kelvin Alfaro, internal consultant, Office of Strategic Consulting

Addressing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and workplace culture is a priority for organizations seeking to transform the way people engage at work and how they feel about work. It involves examining and deconstructing the existing culture to identify obstacles that may be at the root of any issues or problems. This session provided a roadmap to explore workplace culture, identify individual and group commitments to make change, and cultivate a new way of being together and in the world. It also offered tools and resources you can tailor to your individual needs—whether you are looking to start your JEDI journey or are already well on your way.

Event Recording

December 1, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
In-person (H.F. Deluca Forum, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, 330N. Orchard St, Madison)

Creating Connections: Meaningful Meetings and Great Gatherings
Presented by Kelly Rupp, assistant vice provost for faculty and staff affairs, Office of the Provost; Shelly Strom, assistant to the dean for the Nelson Institute, and program manager for UniverCity Year (part of the University Alliance); and Jennifer Erickson, capacity building lead, Office of Strategic Consulting. This event is co-hosted by the Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs.

Too often, our meetings and gatherings are unproductive and dull. They follow a standard, repeatable format and neglect the needs of the individual humans involved. As society continues to contemplate how and why we gather in person, this interactive session will engage you to experiment with a human-centered, business-oriented approach. It may forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, conference, candidate visit, lecture series, or other department events. Consider this your invitation to explore a different way of gathering—one that leads with connection.

Bonus Miniseries: Teambuilding Through Quality Improvement

This year’s Ignite series includes a special miniseries. The miniseries will include five 30-minute sessions to be held every two weeks. All sessions will be online. You should plan to attend all five sessions.

Teambuilding Through Quality Improvement: Using Process Improvement Tools to Enhance Outcomes and Team Strength

Presented by Mathew Roosa, licensed clinical social worker-psychotherapy and NIATx subject matter expert, UW Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies

Building and retaining a strong team is critical. For many employees, the opportunity to participate in a meaningful team experience can enhance satisfaction and be a powerful retention motivator. This miniseries will focus on core tools of the NIATx (Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) model of process improvement that can be easily adapted to any work team and used as an effective strategy for engaging team members. Come learn these simple tools and explore how you can use them to strengthen team engagement.

Miniseries Presentation Slide Deck

Miniseries Sessions

October 20, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Team As a Verb: Building by Doing

Event Recording: Session I

November 3, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Charting the Current State: Knowing Your Team Challenges

Event Recording: Session II

November 17, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Finding Solutions: Activating Team Members

Event Recording: Session III

December 1, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Testing and Improving: Data-Driven Team Coaching

Event Recording: Session IV

December 15, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Retaining Your Team with a Continuous Quality Improvement Culture

Register for the Bonus Miniseries