Jun 12, 2023

Identity, Tribalism and Disruption – Three Issues That Are Not Going Away Anytime Soon

They say the past is the best predictor of future behavior. If you take that common wisdom to heart, it does not apply to the pace of change over the past five years. If you were writing a plan for the future five years ago, there was little that you could have done to predict the future.

From my view, the past five years had three major themes with significant impact:

Identity – Individual identity, and the rights associated with it, entered in a new era in the past five years. This includes all of the basic and foundational elements of identity, from race, ethnicity, and gender. We are in a time of redefining identities and the role of the individual within that context.

Tribalism – The further fracturing and division of culture and society has accelerated tribalism, where people gravitate only to their groups. The includes geographic migration where people move to other regions, social and news media consumption where people only engage with channels that affirm their beliefs, and clubs and organizations that share values. The net effect is a cultural “echo chamber”, where people do not want to build community with others that they do not believe are similar.

Environmental Disruption – The pandemic was a fierce force in nearly all industries and it had a profound impact on eduction. It was an environmental disruption and, from the looks of things, we will continue to have more of them. From earthquakes to hurricanes to wildfires to terrorism to medical crises, education will need to remain flexible and adaptable to a constantly changing environment.

I’ve always believed that the future is something to be read, discerned, and anticipated. Some of the most important themes we need to be watching are the way the world is changing. Our ability to inform our approaches to planning and strategy have everything to do with our ability to understand our changing environment.

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