A recent article in Forbes encourages business leaders to consider putting together 90 day action plans to be reviewed and updated every 90 days in an effort to improve organizational agility.

Falguni Desai: “Strategic plans that cast a five year look into the future provide a sense of calm. They coax management teams into thinking that there is still time to put the plan into action.” – The Digital Era is Crippling the Five-year Strategic Plan

The author points out that in this digital age the role of the strategist is changing, and if we are to keep up with change we need to become “fututists” – keeping up with current trends, we should consider shorter planning cycles allowing us to be better prepared to change course if necessary.

Speaking of looking toward the future, one of the publications I look forward to reading each year is the Horizon Report put out by the New Media Consortium (NMC). The Horizon Report is put together by a panel of experts offering insights into what is emerging in educational technology on the college campus. The report offers key trends and significant challenges in technology adoption, as well as emerging technologies for the immediate future (one year or less), mid term (two to three years, and longer term (four to five years) in higher education.

Horizon Report 2016 Trends, Challenges, and Technologies for Higher Ed
CC-BY New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2016

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Learning Analytics and Adaptive Learning are listed in the current report as this year’s emerging technologies. Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Makerspaces time-to-adoption as two to three years. For four to five years, Affective Computing and Robotics are on the list.

The Horizon Report is not meant to replace the strategic plan but it can offer some useful insight into current and emerging trends in higher ed. In fact, our campus has implemented a number of these same strategies: in response to the BYOD trend we have implemented responsive web design and adopted mobile apps for our LMS. We are also planning to include a Makerspace as part of the Health Technologies capital project over the next two years.

Six years ago I would have agreed with the 2010 Horizon Report in that Open Educational Resources was set to take off but still today, we have yet to fully embrace OERs on most campuses and it is no longer listed in the report. Five years ago Competency Based Education (CBE) was not listed as one of the trends but with today’s focus on a campus completion agenda, getting students to degree faster has become a priority and that means considering new online delivery models.

The five-year strategic plan may no longer make sense for ed tech. Perhaps by employing such practices as the twelve to twenty-four month strategic plan and ninety-day action planing cycles we can learn to improve institutional agility and realize our efforts to embrace change and foster innovation on the college campus.