Paradigm Shifts

I was looking at the second issue of synnovation, the magazine of the EDS Agility Alliance. I saw a reference to it on EDS’ Next Big Thing Blog, a blog I got interested in when researching creativity and innovation in business. It’s a commonplace that business is ahead of higher education in adopting and integrating the latest technologies in the workplace, and as odd as it might sound to educators, I think they are ahead of us in promoting creativity and innovation. Maybe the competitive nature of business accounts for the drive to stay ahead of the curve. In many ways, we are too content to run in place, following that old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

One article in this issue of synnovation, “A New Grid in Town,” contains a list of what’s in and what’s out as a result of shifting business paradigms (p. 68). One of the pairs is this:

What’s out? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What’s in? If it ain’t broke, break it.

A few of the other pairs in this comparative list offer some suggestions for new ways of thinking about what could be the same old things:

Out: “Employees as knowledge managers.” In: “Employees as knowledge creators.”
Out: “Automation assisting employees.” In “Automation extending employees.”
Out: “Command and control.” In “Command and empowerment.”

I like these transitions, or paradigm shifts, especially in the way they suggest empowerment. Getting back to the idea of breaking something in order to fix it, though, I wonder if we could benefit in higher education from challenging the occasional tradition in the classroom, maybe breaking what seems to be working okay and coming up with a fix that we didn’t know we needed.

I’d like to think that instructional technologies can be such inclusive, inspiring, and empowering tools. Apologies for all this waxing philosophical without many specifics. I’ll work on some of those for next week’s follow-up (it might take me that long to work them out).

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Categories: technology

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