- Who is Sean Kruger?
I am a proud UP alumni, a mentor, a teacher, a researcher and to my own surprise, an adventurer (nothing too wild of course). I studied financial management at UP until masters level while working in the IT laboratories on campus. During this time I also helped several businesses with risk assessment and worked in the corporate environment. This required me to balance work and studies, but awarded me with the knowledge to know what I am passionate about; and that is innovation. This was probably because of the level of technological advancement we have experienced over the past decade; hence the move into my current role and completion of my masters in information technology. With the help of my mentors, I continue to prepare for the changes of digital transformation and impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through one of my strongest beliefs, life long-learning.
- Tell us about your position / job here at UP?
I am currently the MakerSpace Coordinator at the University’s Library. In this role I drive strategic innovation across disciplines, especially with technology. What this basically means is I get to play around in the research development field with awesome technologies (like 3D printers and high-end computers), and create a fun and conducive environment with a great team of technicians. The aim of this is to support research, teaching and learning using creativity and innovation in a collaborative and conducive environment. You may have seen the MakerSpace in various UP newsletters, UP at a Glance, UP corporate video or the newspapers where we mentored the robotics team who won an international innovation award. In between all these exciting projects, I still need to make sure how to use new-generation technologies, make them relatable to business or research outputs, procure them, and of course make sure the place is not burnt down when sparks fly, literally!
- What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
In my position I get to investigate and use novel technologies and apply them in various ways. This is pretty amazing as each day is a challenge, however the best part is working together with people to help them achieve greatness. This is especially true where I am positioned to help people who fear the new, but end up making the most amazing designs or concepts which not only heightens their research or teaching, but higher education as a whole.
- What is your least favourite part about your job?
Well, as with any job there are those things that are tedious. For me this would need to be administrative procedures. I know they are important, but trying to explain why I need a light sensor probe for a 3D printer takes a very, very long time, and keeps me from driving innovation!
- What would be your top suggestion for making UP an even better place to work?
This is a tricky one. Because for me personally it would be another climbing wall at LC de Villiers. But overall we already have an amazing campus, and I would recommend that we make the resources we already have known to staff on what they can actually do on our campuses. Or maybe, just maybe, golf cart race days.
- If you were not in your current position, what else would you have liked to be?
Make no mistake, I love my job, but ultimately a lecturer who specialises in digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution is what I would have liked to be. The reason for this is it would allow me to do research in innovation and strategy, while still upskilling students. Although I would miss the bright walls of my office!
- Tell us about who Sean Kruger is away from work?
Well when I am not at work, I really enjoy travelling and keeping excellent company. Seeing and experiencing new things allows me to see what is happening in the world, what problems there are, and just appreciate what we as people do despite our environments. I also love to head out to capture moments during a climbing session, or a hike with my closest friends. And, of course, try to make some good food and pair it with the perfect wine!
- What are your goals for the next five years?
To help grow higher education’s role in driving innovation across all disciplines and produce research outputs. This is a special one to me, as we are at a point where technology and innovation are driving several facets of what we do, and if we use this well, we can enhance our graduates’ skills and even build the skills of the current workforce for a work environment that does not yet exist with the rapid changes we are experiencing.
- Is there a favourite piece of advice you have received in life that you would like to share with our colleagues?
Everyone sees your successes, but what they don’t see are the many failures, the late nights and sacrifices. So celebrate success and know that you will fail, but it really is worth it.