Wednesday, 24 February 2016

TRAVEL THROUGH TIME and experience a taste of what school may be like in 2023

Recently I hosted a future focused school community consultation meeting designed to challenge mind-sets and get feedback in order to formulate our new strategic vision.
The teachers and parents congregated in the cybrary for refreshments with anticipation building.

After an introductory talk setting the scene they entered the school atrium through a darkened doorway and entered another time zone – 2023!

This evening was a follow up to a series of consultation meetings and think tanks held last year. We had informed our consultation meetings using the latest trends and predictions from multiple viewpoints namely business, finance, IT and education.

The 2015 provocations certainly challenged our thinking and allowed us to envisage a future radically different to today. Future strategy is developed in the present; as Salvaris (2015) so wisely states:

The future does not just happen to us; we ourselves create it by what we do and what we fail to do.  It is we who are making tomorrow what tomorrow will be.

Futurists think not so much in terms of predicting the future, as in terms of trying to decide more wisely what we want the future to be. We would like to develop a future focused strategy that integrates knowledge about the past, present and future to make wise strategy today.

How will we react if a future were to unfold that was distinctly different from the one anticipated by our current strategic plan?

This consultation is called Foresight Strategy.
It allows us to consider potential future events and possible implications for strategy rather than reacting to future events that might have already undermined that strategy by the time those events become apparent (

We staged this event in order to engage teachers and parents in possible scenarios; what could happen! We were trying to envision a future we find hard to picture. We used lights, images, animation and videos all developed at school to set the scene and present the “what might be”. This future building project was designed to encourage an exploratory mindset via a time-travel journey. The challenging ideas and possible mind-shits were shared through the eyes of a year 8 learner, a teacher, a parent and the physical school structure — a subjective, student-centered imagining of what could happen as the future unfolds.

We invited the teachers and parents to travel with us and explore these possible futures. Then, we asked them to leave their thoughts/ideas/comments via the post-it note brainstorm boards in each area. The informal discussions and level of engagement produced the desired effect – great feedback and ideas!!

Some parent comments:

I agree, we need to be more open-minded about education in the future – flexibility, collaboration, mindfulness, emotional intelligence. I loved the appearance of all these concepts.

Sounds awesome!  We have extremely high expectations of our teachers/mentors / life coaches!  Need to elevate the importance/’standing’ of teachers in our community as a whole!!

Closing the gap between the educational institutions and real world makes sense.

Very interesting to have students as prepared as possible for what the future holds and challenges in the workforce when faced with constant change.  Resilience, inter-personal skills, coping, EQ etc. all will be more important in the future – big challenge for teachers and parents.  Need to still ensure students have a good grasp of basic key learning blocks etc.

Use of community experts will definitely shape their thinking, future positioning and be leading.

Excellent provocative vision!

It was worth taking the time and energy to consider the long term, that is, to step out of the day-to-day urgency of school life to plan for the future!

Utilising a school community’s strategic foresight capacity produces conscious, explicit and collective vision.

Remember, the benefit of foresight is only apparent in hindsight! (


  1. This was a fantastic process to be part of, Lyn. It was actually quite liberating to be released from all the confines school currently find themselves in and just dream ; dream about how best to engage and equip of learners for a future where they can be their best possible selves using all the resources available....and some not resources which are not available yet! It was very provocative and I'm so pleased our community is so open-minded to possibility. Thanks for all your hard work.

  2. Thanks Bridget, it is fantastic to join parents and teachers together to imagine the "what ifs" of the future and be greeted by such openminds and enthusiasm :)

    1. Oh Lyn, I really must proofread my comments!! I was in a real hurry but wanted to leave you some feedback!