Getting to a better place
I've now finished my 15 issues in the reform of higher ed. I hit two home runs in that series of essays: How colleges are bad for our brains and Disconnected dashboards create mayhem. Both posts attracted an exceptional number of readers from around the world. That gives me a direction to go from here with the aim to provide more value to you. These 15 issues will serve us as design criteria for a newly conceived version of higher ed. (If you're new to design thinking, you may want to explore what I've written about design evaluation). These 15 criteria pose much higher standards for higher ed than are currently being met by most public or private colleges and universities.
I'll begin with a readout for everyone's dashboard regardless of their role in higher ed as student, educator, administrator or publisher. Tracking your qualitative experience of location can give you a sense of whether to move beyond that or stick around. This overall sense of place will correlate with the kind of job you've been given, the value you can get from the experience, the collegiality serving you and the impacts on your brain.
When we're in a Bad Place, it's very likely everyone else in our experience will be there too. Locations are shared, even if they're abstract like where we're coming from or where we're at. Being in the same place makes for a lot of compatibility of expectations and shared abilities to cope with adversity. On the downside, this can dysfunction as collusion, commiseration or costly compromises.
When we get to a Better Place, we'll find others are split between the Bad Place we we're at and this Better Place we've created for ourselves. When we get to a Good Place, we'll be aware of others in all three places and ways to help them move beyond their current locations. Coming from a Great Place will transform their entire array of locations and movements between them.
Each place proves to be very hypnotic and persuasive about staying put. Any Bad Place is the worst that way. It creates experiences of being stuck with no options and trapped by overwhelming limitations. Getting to a better place takes a lot of determination and effort at first. Books like David Allen's Getting Things Done or Timothy Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek are great for structuring the challenge of getting unstuck.
I'm envisioning my design for reinvented higher ed as a Good Place. It's above what I'll define as a Better Place. It takes more than being self-structuring and successful at getting results. All that is necessary but not sufficient to realize higher quality higher ed at a lower cost.