Betsy Reinitz, EDUCAUSE Director of the CIO and Senior Technology Leader Program, talking about the Foresight Practice being introduced and used at EDUCAUSE.
Foresight is being used at EDUCAUSE as an approach to understanding and navigating the grand challenges of a world turned upside down (e.g., by pandemic, climate change, war and conflict, changing public perception of the value of higher education, and more).
Higher Education itself has grand challenges specific to itself that include these items workshopped and identified back in 2019 with an environmental scan, so, this is the pre-pandemic set:
A fresh new all sorts of risks and dealing with the whole student (the whole-person faculty member and the whole-person staff member) realizing these updated grand challenges for 2023:
Dx = Digital Transformation = is defined by EDUCAUSE as "In the context of sweeping social, economic, technological, and demographic changes, digital transformation (Dx) is a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts that enable new educational and operating models and transform an institution’s operations, strategic directions, and value proposition."
Digital Transformation can:
Drive student success
We live in a high-VUCA = Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity = world:
The implications for EDU of these new grand challenges and this high-VUCA world is that our leadership requires new thinking and new skills and new strategies:
EDUCAUSE has formed an expert panel on institutional resilience: ...which is defined as: ...note that this is about maximizing opportunities as much as it is about minimizing bad things.
Foresight is about anticipating possible futures and preparing to move toward more-desirable possible futures and to move away from less-desirable futures.
Foresight involves taking all the facts about the present that we have available (using what IFTF calls "signals") and weaving them together to create plausible and provocative stories and scenarios for the future, stories that can inspire us to move toward those more-desirable futures and avoid (or avoid the undesirable effects of) those less-desirable futures.
Foresight is not about prediction, but more about creating or preparing for future conditions.
EDUCAUSE has been using Foresight since taking up the Horizon Reports from the New Media Consortium.
Horizon reports show the trends and technologies that will be shaping the future of higher education over the next ten years, with data feeding these reports from EDUCAUSE-member expert panels. These reports contain four quite-different alternative scenarios.
The expert panels dive into the details of the topic at hand (e.g., Teaching and Learning, Data and Analytics, Holistic Student Experience) and then start thinking about the future... ten years out.
Here is a snapshot from the real example of the virtual stickies (the colors don't represent any categories, etc, they're just the color of sticky note chosen by contributors as they worked together) from the Mural board behind The Holistic Student Experience expert panel's work — using the "look back to look forward" technique, which involves looking back twice as far as you want to look forward, so here this is looking back twenty years in order to look forward ten years. What are the defining moments in this change history, the triggers of the changes that led us to where we now are, and where we might be heading? Some of the notable items here include the arrival of pervasive WiFi, the coming and going of MOOCs, and the 2008 item of the first president having a smartphone:
Another activity is "find the future me", which asks participants to write a LinkedIn profile for themselves ten years in the future! Things to consider include:
During this Itana call a quick and informal five-minute activity was performed using Padlet to capture "envision your future self" profiles, and here are four examples of what was turned out:
Specific (concrete examples: facts, events, reports, products)
Compelling (data that don't fit the model, data that encourage rethinking assumptions)
Signal examples include things like UCB closing libraries, universities banning fully-online degrees, Ireland stopping homework, etc, and here is a selection of signals captured by one of the expert panels working on the Horizon reports:
Trends are longer-running and tend to be:
large, long-term underlying directions of change that will shape the future
sometimes called drivers or megatrends
categorized using the STEEP heuristic
STEEP is PESTLE-like:
Here are some examples of Trends from one of the expert panels:
Signals and Trends become the basis of possible future scenarios, and this is another IFTF tool that is used to develop four different scenarios in a ten-year horizon, to envision alternative futures with four archetypes, each with their own characteristics and constraints = growth, constraint, collapse, and transformation: ...and scenarios on each of these four archetypes are now included in the Horizon reports, one-page-for-each-alternative-future-scenario.
Refer to the EDUCAUSE Horizon reports for plenty of examples!
06:32:18 From Betsy Reinitz (she/her) to Everyone: Write a LinkedIn profile for yourself 10 years in the future. Write your name as the title What’s your brief “About You” professional blurb? What job might you be holding and what are your responsibilities? What new skills do you possess? Certifications or licenses you’ve needed to acquire? Areas of professional interest? Who is your team?
06:39:43 From Dana Miller to Everyone: Great idea, Piet. The future us.
06:43:10 From J.J. Du Chateau (Wisconsin) to Everyone: How do you separate signals from noise?
06:44:54 From Alberto Mendoza to Everyone: reminds me of the book by Nate Silver (from blog 538 fame)