Friday, January 11, 2008

The Changing World

With the start of the New Year, I can't help but think of the future. The current state of affairs in the world can certainly prompt some anxiety with so many unknowns and the challenge of working with so many things out of our own control. One thing that has provided me a small anchor in all of this is a sense of history. I was fortunate to have had someone drop off a comprehensive history of Oneida County last fall and I read most and skimmed other parts during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I recently checked the book out of our great MVCC library and hope to review it again to glean some analysis and insights for a future blog posting about our changing county.

For now though, I'm focused on the future and our changing world. I've been speaking to a number of business and community leaders regularly here in Oneida County as well with my colleagues from around the country and the challenges are abundantly clear - unfortunately, the solutions are not. I've been working closely with the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) to update the College's strategic plan and create some clarity for action in a very ambiguous future. Prior to our regular meetings this fall, we started with a retreat in late September, where the entire SPC examined a large data notebook of external trends and internal information and then identified priorities and initiatives that can strengthen the alignment between the College's programs and services and the needs of our local communities. I set the stage for the retreat with a brief PowerPoint presentation to set the context. I think this presentation, although it's now almost eighteen months old, is powerful - almost overwhelming at times. The content is a compilation of statements from leading futurists and key facts presented in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat. The core message is that a major shift is occurring and the world around us is changing exponentially. I take it as a call to action that presents a need for us to reflect on how we can better position the College to thrive in such a fast-changing world - I hope you join me and share your reactions with me at presblog@mvcc.edu.

Click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljbI-363A2Q to see the original. The perfectly placed audio track is locally relevant as it's a combination of two tracks from the movie Last of the Mohicans. I've also included links below here if you want to look more into the sources of the fascinating facts in the presentation. I highly recommend watching the updated version, "Did you know 2.0" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U - it has more graphics, but doesn't create the sense of urgency with a more methodical audio clip. I find watching both of them reinforces the magnitude of the trends and prompts different thinking for me about the implications.

Similar to the Liberty Mutual commercials, you may have a problem viewing these directly from the links provided. If the links don't work, go to http://www.youtube.com/ and search for "shift happens".

Sources: http://www.lps.k12.co.us/schools/arapahoe/fisch/didyouknow/sourcesfordidyouknow.doc