Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ron Brown on the Future

Listening to a talk by Ron Brown on the future of Extension.. the art of disseminating knowledge that is created in Land Grant University Labs. I will try and capture his major points here today (excuse the typos.. doing this on the fly).

We have to unlearn and relearn in-order to change for the future. Changes that may influence us:

  • Demographically we are changing - we are getting grayer, older, browner, and more diverse
  • There will be twice as many old people in the near future
  • Families: Few Children, 75% will be nontraditional families
  • Declining rural and urban communities (Increasing problems/declining opportunities)
  • Changing workforce (Gen X vs Retiring Older workers)
  • Increase in the demand for training
  • Natural Resources: Value shifts.. care for animals, need for open space
  • Social Issues - Obesity, housing, globalization, terror, safe food, disasters
  • Technology, web 2.0, anywhere-anytime-anydevice
  • Funding pressures and accountability
"We have to eager to learn and enjoy change."

Refers to Scott Moore of Yahoo.. Moore showed that 60% of the audience that is watching 60 minutes on Yahoo is under the age 44.. 70% of the TV audience is over 60.

In 1993 according to Pew, 60% watched network news.. today on 28% watch network news.

Two Change Ideas
  • Bigger and more consistent is Better (Mergers, Leadership wants consistency, but we are not all alike, we are all unique) Consolidation can cause us to be more alike.. may weaken our ability to be unique and successful
  • New and exciting: Something new and different, even when it is not much gets way more attention. Older programs that are effective don't get the headlines.. Maybe we should rename our stuff that is working.. put a nice new look on it.
Skills needed to deal with Change:
  • Vision - From all levels, inspiring, pointing to the future
  • Good to Great: Listen to your customers - Continue to find your hedgehog
    • Tells the story of the managers of Walgreen who had to accept location change so that Walgreen could put their buildings on the corner. Being Good keeps you from accepting change.. can not be satisfied with Good
  • Must move to be more cooperative.. team approach regardless of the external culture of competition.
  • We have to look for new ways of doing things.

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