In Computing Services, we are doing our usual "summer cleaning" as our student workers rearrange the storage areas, tossing old or dead equipment to make room for other stuff we need to keep. As we go through this process, we organized the typical detritus of IT departments: spare keyboards and mice, unused speakers, reclaimed flat-panel monitors, power cords, USB cables, and the like. We hang on to these accessories, ready to re-issue them to people who are changing offices, or whose old keyboard stopped working thanks to an unfortunate pop spill. (If you need any of these office essentials, stop by!)
This reminds me of Facebook's solution to the "accessory problem." IT departments often spend quite a bit of time managing and issuing computer cables, keyboards, speakers, and whatnot. To meet this problem, Facebook deployed "technology vending machines" that let employees pick up a new keyboard or mouse without having to go through the IT department. Facebook has had them since at least 2011, and they operate just like a snack machine. Just swipe your ID badge, punch a code, and retrieve your accessory from the slot. Facebook employees aren't charged, but the system can be audited to see if the same developer has picked up, say, ten power cords.
I really like this idea, and I wonder how we might do the same in higher ed. Obviously, we have a different user base than Facebook. We expect students to purchase their own computer accessories, but we typically supply keyboards, mice, cords, and other items to faculty and staff at no cost. If we have them, just pick them up. There's no risk to the university to redistribute these items to faculty and staff. And since they are reclaimed items anyway, there's no cost.
Rather than using machines, maybe we can find a way in Computing Services to bundle these items in easy-to-grab "bins" inside our office space. That might provide the necessary freedom for faculty and staff to "serve themselves" for these common items, but since the bins would be in our office (not in an unattended hallway) they would be accessible only to faculty and staff. A great example of Operational Excellence!
We continue to work to find new ways to serve our campus.