“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” #SP4Ed

The Cheshire Cat very aptly asks the question of Alice about where she wants to get to; for if there is no purpose and direction, then it really is of no consequence what way you choose.

The question that I have been teasing at and trying to unpack for the last two weeks have in many ways been answered by entering the domain of SP. I was merrily making plans and had chalked out one specific way to go; focusing on the influences that effect my personal and professional arenas ( Niki’s Arena of Change Diagram). However, there has been a paradigm shift in my thinking; the myriads of possibilities that present themselves can each have a different scenario developed around it. The future is unpredictable but the choices I make can be definitely informed by the literature and arrived upon through a thoughtful and discerning  process. Time, I believe wisely spent!

This exciting realisation propels me to broaden my horizons and I feel as I have finally got a grasp of the zooming in and out of the arena. No longer is it merely about the change in technology, or its application in the classroom or the directions that education is going to take in the context of my school. The questions that I am now beginning to ask have shifted in perspective; the focus now is not how will this effect me personally or professionally, but more so what  ‘stories’ am I going to choose to paint the pictures for the future.  Suddenly from a static, two dimensional scenario building perspective, as the article by Emma Stewart warns us to stay clear off,  the possibilities of multiple dimensions has exploded into colourful characters and settings;  the invitation to shape and develop possibilities is opened up within my own perceptions.

The Economist quotes Wack (1985), from the Harvard Business Review, referring to scenario planning as a a mingling of two worlds; facts and perceptions. The perceptions are what drive decisions; the aim then is to get these perceptions out in the open and link them to existing facts with the intention of providing a shift in thinking. The picture that is then painted of the scenarios, gives the view of the forests and not just of one tree ( Senge, 1994). The aim is to paint the picture with everyone present so that the heroes and the villains that lurk in the minds of the decision-makers are revealed and can be added in behind the trees and in the cottages. The important step however, is to preempt the way some of these can alter the path or direction that Whitman wishes to take, on its  journey through the woods of change,  and having strategies up our sleeves to circumnavigate these. 

Merrily mixing my metaphors, I set out this weekend to consider my ‘What if ?’ questions. I literally am getting out the digital paint brush and am painting my way through the various scenarios, dreaming of a different Whitman.

References

Case study: Scenario planning, published by BUSINESS21C, University of Technology Sydney

Daniel, J. (2012). Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility. Journal Of Interactive Media In Education, 3(0). Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2012-18

Idea: Scenario Planning , Published by The Economist.

Senge, P.M. (1994). The fifth discipline. The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

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