As Winston Churchill was working to form the United Nations after WWII, he famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
So when we ponder the current situation we are in and embed this nasty little virus in the midst of our education redesign programs, can we scope the outcome we will be dealing with on the other side of the pandemic?
In this Age of Agility and the extension of (or often times seemingly an intrusion into) our lives as a result of technology, we have to take on new challenges and embrace technology as our partner in education.
The Challenges We’re Facing
Let’s discuss the challenges we are facing and the solutions that some are embracing to sculpt their redesign models, fostering safe, stable, and nurtured learning ecosystems that will invigorate us in our leadership positions.
Today there is no equation that provides a solution to the three-variable problem confronting us, namely, earning, learning, and mitigating personal risk. Whatever our choices are, they are unlikely to agree with the choices of those around us – and considering all the circumstances surrounding each of these parameters, there is no consensus. Even if there were, that would likely change tomorrow, because the ecosystem is a target that is constantly moving, while we spend time contemplating the past and the present. As we move through the different challenge genres, we face different sets of inequities which in turn become new challenges.
Redefining Excellence in Education
For many of us, it is natural to resist progress, due to comfort levels and brain conditioning. As the saying goes, “Why fix what’s working?” Redefining excellence, on the other hand, is hard work requiring resilience, patience, and tremendous effort that is grounded in design thinking. Strong leadership traits devoted to a vision, the mission, values, and goals form the foundation of the future state with the aspirations of a brave new world that is confluent and ahead of the times. This confluence is maintained through agility and by keeping the moonshot foremost in our minds. New heroes are created that take on a whole new life trajectory that is invigorating and tireless with the yearning for achievement on a level not experienced by the run-of-the-mill pioneer.
It only takes a crisis for us to re-evaluate.
If our vision, mission, and goals are robust, they will withstand the stress test brought about by a crisis; if not, it may mean back to the drawing board to repair the ship that may be losing altitude. Leadership and technology are the real rockets that will maintain your thrust on the way to the moon.
There are many school districts that had very robust plans in place and they managed to breeze through the crisis with very little upheaval in their systems. They progressed employing the futuristic plans already in place; these school districts were aspiring to embrace virtual learning long before the crisis occurred. They realized very early on that students adapt to different kinds of learning, and they also valued the opportunity with design thinking and project-based learning. This engrained design thinking allowed them to deploy the technology at once and accommodate the staff and the students with a new way of learning. For them, the plan was in place before the crisis, while most others were still squandering precious time creating the plan amid the crisis. The value of planning is completely underestimated in the world of education and is certainly underutilized. So, ask yourselves some these questions:
- When was the last time I updated our organizational plan?
- Do I hold an annual planning meeting and update my plan(s)?
- Do I use design thinking as part of my planning program?
- Do I engage experts for other industries to aid and abet us in our planning?
- Do I have accountabilities or key performance indicators built into my plan that go beyond student education performance measures?
If we consider the steppingstones of design thinking, which of these steps did your organization confront in your redesign program?
Notice –> * Empathize –> * Define –> * Ideate –> * Prototype –> * Test –> * Reflect à *
In our next episode, we will continue this discussion on the crisis and leadership while drilling a little further down into the realms of technology.