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Scenario C: Walled CIty

Closed sources of learning & managed or slow change

Quad C (Closed sources of learning with managed or slow change)

Institutions and governments hold tight to the levers of change and creative power. They exert control over a wide range of social and economic endeavors.

Closed sources of learning with managed or slow changeProfessor Chen stands before the class of freshman and apologies for the lack of air conditioning. Online learners fill the screen with smiles. Things are on the mend, but it will take awhile. He continues with his lecture on history of computing. He begins with Babbage, spending most of the afternoon talking about Ada Lovelace.

Waled CityOn the mend. This is how much of the world feels. Governments across the globe are working diligently to tweak this, to manage that, to pull the right levers and make meaningful investments, but everything is just taking a while to get moving. As organizations, public and private, attempt to get a running start at anything, something either gets in the way, or the path ends up meandering despite best efforts.

WHAT DOES THIS SCENARIO FEEL LIKE?

Belle Wheelan

Slow change means a slower economy with fewer opportunities for the ambitious. Tight restrictions and control on social, economic, and technological advances reinforce and extend social, cultural and political ossification. That said, the slow pace of change also means government promises get fulfilled before they get derailed or obsoleted by new technology. And because of this, all branches of government are enjoying historic approval numbers.

Multinationals have come full-circle, hiring local workers to serve global enterprises. As margins shrink and energy remains inexpensive, incumbent organizations and many start-ups reconsider intangibles, re-examining their intellectual property and selling expertise in new ways.

Businesses are able to consolidate their gains and increase their competitive position over rivals through partnerships with universities to provide research and trained employees. At the other end of the spectrum, as the pace of change slows, smaller entities (businesses, schools and groups of all stripes) are able to catch up and participate in a variety of activities. Social networking exists primarily to assist internal processes, for maintaining business relationships and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge.

Social networking exists primarily to assist internal processes, for maintaining business relationships and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge.

WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL CONCERNS?

Susan Albertine

Advertising has slowly eroded as the sources of buoyancy for Internet services, with many businesses returning to fee for services or subscription models.

Conservative values dominate the core of America, with the North East and West Coast as liberal holdouts, but earlier liberals wouldn’t recognize the current inhabitants of places like San Francisco or Portland as liberals. But then again, conservatism has change significantly as well: legislating marijuana taxes, licensing family planning clinics and ensuring equal pay for equal work with competitive minimum wages, along with ensuring that many natural habitats remain natural. A range of conservative “brands” exists. One group of conservatives, for instance, touts the value of all forms of “conservation” leading to a movement that seeks to preserve nature and natural law.

The general propensity to fragment into a multitude of political camps has lead to legislative paralysis and increased power for the executive and judicial branches of government. Over the past decade Presidents have become reliant on executive order when legislation fails to materialize.

In many ways, the United States remains the economic and cultural leader in the world, but as the economy slows, distant influences become less important – it is the immediacy of the customer that shapes service offerings and brand promises. The veneer of global brands gives way to an appreciation for what can be created by local craftspeople, what knowledge is contextual and relevant within cultural and physical proximity.

WHAT WILL RELATIONSHIPS BE LIKE IN THIS SCENARIO?

Martha Kanter

The Academy is seen as the arbiter of knowledge and skills, and institutions guard this power closely. Strategic alliances between institutions and private industries consolidate this power and encourage targeted innovation toward specific objectives. Being well-rounded is important. Many students pursue multiple degrees, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes serially. Being well-credentialed from the right place for the future you want is important. Many long-time students learn how to teach as part of the academic experience.

WHAT SKILLS WILL STUDENTS NEED TO THRIVE?

Susan Albertine

HOW DOES THIS SCENARIO FEEL TO FACULTY?

Christine Ziegler

Educational institutions have found that for many classes, applying the industrial method is working well. They create cookie-cutter classes with clear, measureable outcomes and franchise them out. The majority of corporate professional development is now delivered via on-premise college courses taught by former consultants who have returned to the academy.

The cost of education is high, but it has stabilized as the external sale of courses and the monetization of staff lead to new sources of income.

The government is letting this transformation take place without interfering. Legislators and executive leadership, including the President of the United States, are much more focused on the repatriation of jobs and ensuring that globalization mistakes of the past several decades aren’t repeated. Economies shrink, but they become more local, and therefore more sustainable. Although smaller, the economy doesn’t chew up as much in long-distance hauls, global insurance and unstable exchange rates.

Educational institutions have found that for many classes, applying the industrial method is working well. They create cookie-cutter classes with clear, measureable outcomes and franchise them out. The majority of corporate professional development is now delivered via on-premise college courses taught by former consultants who have returned to the academy.

WHY DO INSTITUTIONS EXIST?

Kevin Carey

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FACULTY OF TODAY?

Susan Albertine

The cost of education is high, but it has stabilized as the external sale of courses and the monetization of staff lead to new sources of income.

HOW WILL FACULTY BE RECOGNIZED AND REWARDED?

Christine Ziegler

The government is letting this transformation take place without interfering. Legislators and executive leadership, including the President of the United States, are much more focused on the repatriation of jobs and ensuring that globalization mistakes of the past several decades aren’t repeated. Economies shrink, but they become more local, and therefore more sustainable. Although smaller, the economy doesn’t chew up as much in long-distance hauls, global insurance and unstable exchange rates.

WILL 2030 REALLY THREATEN TODAY’S UNIVERSITIES?

Kevin Carey

A less global world is also a safer. The US has pulled out of the Middle East. The Americas remain interdependent, but energy independent from the rest of the world. Promising new small fusion reactors may create infinite energy soon, but this remains just a promise. Fracking continues to pay off, despite some ecological downside. The Keystone pipeline was approved after Canada decided to only serve Mexico and South American countries, and to help shore up US reserves when necessary. The price of gasoline remains near all time lows.

Innovation and searching for the “next big thing” has given way to a comfortable sense of consistency and continuity. Some large institutions even offer coaching programs for smaller organizations that further homogenizes structures and practice.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR 2030?

Susan Albertine

With the costs of adopting to rapid change no longer a constant business cost, institutions and individuals can make other strategic investments, some to bolster their status (either as gatekeepers for institutions, or as individuals), others to extend their mission or interests.