AVP and CTO Update April 17, 2020
My beginning of the week message (pre-pandemic) has turned into an end of week message. Do I feel more inspired after a week of blitz working? Yes, I think it is fair to say that the experience of interacting with so many creative problem solvers through the week provides me with lots of inspiration once Friday rolls around. The work week is definitely more invigorating than my weekends, where I am engaging in relatively vacant experiences! Not much inspiration to share on a Monday except the foods I have eaten and the binge worthy programming I consumed (for the record I am NOT going near Tiger King).
I know we have been dealing with incessant challenges on a weekly and daily basis. Yes, it can be exhausting, but the truth is that for many of us it is also exciting and part of the reason we are in IT – there is no shortage of challenges, big and small! We are problem solvers by nature! And we are great under pressure – the fast move from an on campus environment to our work from home environment is a great example. Great job, all of you!
That kind of rapid response is hard to sustain, however, and really shouldn’t be the way we work all the time. It can begin to take a toll. Now that we have hit a plateau on the work from home problem, I hope you will catch your breath and slow down when you can. At the same time, we know we have a new set of challenges that is just gearing up: helping our faculty and instructors deliver their courses in the spring/summer, and potentially the fall, in this remote from campus world. So how do we go from reaction to pro-action?
The answer is imagination! This Harvard Business Review article, We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever posits: “With imagination, we can do better than merely adapting to a new environment — we can thrive by shaping it.” The article was written with a business focus, however it resonates very well for an environment like ours where we have ‘hard problems’ to solve that will more than likely lay a foundation for a very new way of doing things post pandemic.
The article highlights seven practical and actionable ways that we can all expand our ‘capacity for imagination’:
- Carve out time for reflection
- Ask active, open questions
- Allow yourself to be playful
- Set up a system for sharing ideas
- Seek out the anomalous and unexpected
- Encourage experimentation
- Stay hopeful! (exclamation is mine)
The last item is also about leaning into a ‘growth mindset‘: “When we lose hope and adopt a passive mindset, we cease to believe that we can meet our ideals or fix our problems”.
I wish you all an imaginative weekend! And thanks for all you have done this week, and this past month!
Take good care,