Monday, April 7, 2014

It's easier to interpolate than extrapolate

At EDUCAUSE Connect a few weeks ago, I attended a great presentation about visualizing the future. A key theme was that it's easier to interpolate than to extrapolate.

Let's try an example: Most leaders start by asking where am I now? or what's happened up to this point? then try to answer the question, what's the next move? That's a tough proposition, because these leaders are trying to extrapolate. Where you go next depends on where you are going.

That's why it's often much easier to interpolate, to fill in the gaps from your current location to your destination. Try this exercise instead: What do you want your IT organization to be doing 5 years from now? What does that IT team look like? What is it focused on? What are its priorities? How is it shaped?

Once you've imagined that vision, take a step back. You know where you're going to end up in 5 years. What your next step? Where do you go from here? What are the major milestones you need to reach over the next year, and over the next 5 years, to reach your target?

Experiment with this method as you visualize the future of your campus technology. I used a similar method when I shared a vision of the future of computing, or how technology will change entertainment. It's the same method employed by companies, as they envision their future, then take steps to realize that future. You may remember Microsoft's vision of the future:

In shaping the future of technology, we can imagine what promise the future might hold, then work to achieve it. In technology, we are the drivers of future progression. In campus technology, we are the ones who help shape what is to come. Our job as campus technology stewards, therefore, is to find the new technology that can best benefit our campus, and work to make it happen.

What's your vision of the future of technology?

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