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Decode it - Change ideas to purpose

Decode it -
Now that you have an idea and a design for your institute, it's time to convert ideas to purpose.

On this page you'll find answers to these questions:
"What do you mean by 'decoding?'"
"Can you really 'decode' people? How?" 
"What are some emerging roles that you’ll want to consider within your institute?"


By “Decode” (and, I admit that I needed another  D for literary balance) we mean that the definitions, ideas and designs all need to the translated, “decoded,” that is, into something  that can be done: in other words translating ideas into operations so that these ideas can be done. Let’s explain “decoding” in terms of people, processes, and products. Before we can do this we need to express some assumptions and challenges.

People decoding.

 “I like where this is going, but I don’t know what you want me to do!”  Get ready, this is coming.  Responding to this statement by saying that you’re looking for someone do a little “reality construction” probably will get blank looks. Initially, you’re walking a tightrope. You want a new structure (if needed), you want a new vision, but you don’t want to adopt the paradigms of the old roles too fast.  On the other hand, you’d like to construct a set of expectations and obligations that can focus energy without confusion. 

If your institute is an entity separate from the corporate body (a foundation offshoot for example) you may have a free hand in role construction. More than likely, this is NOT you. Hence, the model you’re working on is a little more evolutionary than revolutionary.  You’ll create a few new roles, but you’ll more likely “morphing” some of the roles that currently exist in the organization.  Some of the old roles might be valuable. For example, attracting veteran faculty members, those who likely know the community and the college culture can make entrance into the community and credibility in the culture easier.

Naturally, you’ll have a little more luck defining new roles if the roles have not been completely formed.  So you want attract new incoming faculty as they arrive on campus. As these new members of the college community come on board, recruiting and training are valuable ways of modifying roles and integrating new energy and enthusiasm.

And, where are students in all this? The problems are similar. Both faculty and students are involved in maintaining what I like to call the “little red schoolhouse” paradigm of American education. While few schools actually look like 19th century red buildings anymore, there are great similarities in human and structural action. People are brought to a common place in the role of students to be taught by teachers in classrooms.  They sit in rows facing the source of wisdom and knowledge and exert little individual creativity, but rather “receive” information. 

These roles, in their expectations and obligations, their implied status, are etched in American culture.  In the process all participants have learned how to “game the system.” Teachers and students become experts in the role performances.  There is comfort and security in the roles… certainly.  Here in lies the problem for you and your institute.

You don’t need to think and act “like a futurist” before you realize that the “little red schoolhouse” metaphor is unlikely to work in your environment, and perhaps, in the 21st century.  The process of decoding these roles and, then, painfully resocializing may be the futurist’s burden!  These new constructs have important elements associated with them.  First, they are practical in a 21st century way.  That may be why they are so difficult for Baby-boomer generation, linear thinkers to address. Second, they are emerging. But ongoing emerging reality at an enhanced speed of change is the direction we are all headed. 

So what are some emerging roles that you’ll want to consider within your institute?

Note that the expectations are not maintained exclusively by a single role. Emphasis is not identical but many expectations are similar.

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