It is easy to make pronouncements about pedagogical, technological or institutional change from the islands, when the consequences of advocating for and implementing that change are limited to your world, your classroom, your twitter feed. They are safe spaces, full of friendly faces and welcoming and supportive practices. But decisions, assertions and opinions all have consequences; for your students and the worlds they inhabit, for your colleagues and their practices and for your institutions. The challenge comes when you need to scale what you speak. You need to make the future happen for your entire institution. What happens when the Vice-Chancellor, the Dean or the Director says ‘we need what you doing to transform the whole institution’? What do you say and do? How do you make sure you say the right things, in the right rooms, with the right people?
Future Happens wants to create the spaces and share the capabilities that can help bridge these gaps. We want to help you be the nexus between practice and strategy, to be part of the discourse at your institution and empower you to actively shape teaching and learning at your institution. Using the principles of crowdsourcing, digital citizenship and collective problem solving, Future Happens generates, shares and challenges the key messages, tools and strategies available that put the digital in the heart of the conversation and not as an uncritical duplication of institutional norms or as a fringe activity of the tech savvy.
One of our key ways we do this is through what we call a changehack. A changehack is a way of engaging with staff, students and your community to make change happen, coming up with the innovative and workable solutions and ideas. A changehack works because it seeks to challenge head on and avoid some of the standard blockers that prevent real and productive debate and solutions. A changehack draws on the principles of crowdsourcing by not simply generating ideas but asking people to become citizens of the crowd, participating because there is a collective good that comes from that participation (Brabham 2008; Halbert 2015). You can read more about the changehack and how to run one yourself right here.
Future Happens is not a company, or a consultancy or a problem solving hit squad. It is a collaboration between two UK higher education institutions and a group of committed, critical and experienced people. We started this whole thing to help our institutions and others to solve the wicked problems of leading institutional change from the centre, recognising the need for constructing and preparing for the unknown possible futures for higher education (Davis & Sumara 2009). Everything you see here is free for you to use, repurpose, remix and share. It would be great to hear about how you used the resources and ideas the Future Happens have curated here. And of course, you can always hashtag us on social media #futurehappens
Brabham, D.C. 2008, ‘Crowdsourcing as a model for problem solving: An introduction and cases‘, Convergence, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 75-90.
Davis, B. & Sumara, D. 2009, ‘Complexity as a theory of education‘, TCI (Transnational Curriculum Inquiry), vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 33-44.
Halbert, D. 2015, ‘Reshaping Higher Education for a Globalized Future‘, Technology and Workplace Skills for the Twenty-First Century, Springer, pp. 49-67.