University of Lincoln – Inside Edge 

Defining a value proposition and commercialisation of internal service.

Lincoln’s Digital Student Life team have rewritten the rulebook for student-led communication. While student ambassadors have cemented their place in university recruitment campaigns, their input typically stops once the first flush of acceptance fades. Lincoln’s pioneering approach extends into all aspects of the student experience, resulting in the creation of a dedicated, in-house content team, led by students for students. Recent funding from the OfS saw the team deliver student-led content interventions to aid retention and wellbeing of the student population at Lincoln and beyond.

The potential to scale the student-led content offering required an injection of commercial acumen and a strategic approach. Inside Edge worked in partnership with the Digital Student Life team to harness the value of the student-led content capabilities. 

Our objective was to reimagine what was possible for “student-content-as-a-service”. This meant building long-term capacity in the existing student team, enabling Lincoln to offer a high-quality service at scale and boost their delivery capabilities. 

Firstly, we defined a Client Value Proposition, exploring the potential to productise the current offering alongside the development of high-value consultancy services. This led to the co-design of a service proposition which could be used to sell in the commercial potential to the wider University, while communicating the benefits of the service to potential clients. 

To achieve the desired outcome of building a sustainable student team with the agility of a content agency, Inside Edge supported the Digital Student Life leadership team through remote strategic growth advisory sessions, helping to identify commercial opportunities and structure internal resource appropriately. This in turn guided the go-to-market approach though a pilot offering with pre-identified targets. 

Inside Edge provided advice and support to me as I looked to develop a commercial consultancy opportunity based around student-created content for other higher education institutions. They helped to hone and shape what was just an idea into a more concrete proposition. Through their experience of working with a range of organisations, they provided objective insights and acted as a critical friend, challenging my thinking and encouraging me to move outside of my comfort zone and be more ambitious with the proposed venture. Their clear-eyed commercial mindset and in depth knowledge of the higher education market enabled me to build a much stronger offering which should create a valuable future revenue stream and could also enable partnership opportunities with other institutions.

Tom Wright - Director of Digital Student Life - University of Lincoln