Traditional wisdom in education talks about vision, mission, values, and goals. So much so, the general feeling is that a school or program lacking in these areas risks organizational failure.
And this mindset goes unchallenged especially in the area of goals despite generations following the same format with less than stellar systemic results (yes, I know there are great examples but it seems more times than not the results are merely average, far from systemic, and rarely deep-rooted).
It makes one wonder if there is a different way that should at least be considered and it took a recent article about Google to articulate that potential alternative:
“Being unfocused not only allows Google to live on the cutting edge of innovation, it also allows the company to set itself up for long-term success by building things without the full certainty of how they will be incorporated into the company’s long-term strategy. In other words, Google has allowed 1000 Flowers to bloom only to then turn them into a beautiful bouquet. Only by being careful not to stifle the creative forces has Page enabled the company to be a driver rather than a victim of online innovation.” (Carpenter-Arevalo)
What if schools had themes (my superintendent’s wise choice of wording) associated with the vision, which by their very nature encouraged “flowers to bloom” instead of establishing such rigid goals that only allowed one type of flower to grow? What if goals weren’t so focused? What if goals were more like themes with great flexibility to adapt and evolve, to innovate and even fail? How does one encourage this type of organizational movement while not feeling too unfocused or too fractured? Is that possible, would this work in schools?
In this time of standardization and the desire for things to be clean, this is difficult but the question is more about whether to be a “driver” or a “victim” during this difficult time in education.