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FROM THE CURRENT WORK–LIFE BALANCE TO CREATING THE FUTURE

Scenario planning is a technique for projecting into and talking about the future. It is useful because it shifts us from the ‘day-to-day’ mindset into neutral or objective territory so that we can take a more strategic view of the challenges that each one of us will face. The emotional dimension of future trends in information industries, which education might be characterized as, has a potential impact on strategy.

These trends need to be integrated into existing strategy in collaboration with partners in the education service. Teachers, as individuals, need to understand these scenarios. David Mercer of the Open Business School and the Strategic Planning Society organized, for the Futures Observatory, a Millennium Debate. In the education service we need to be more alive to such changes and the implications for education and in particular here for the work life balance.

Information and communications technology will have a profound impact on education and teachers’ lives and careers. Two presentations from this conference have profound implications for schools and education. The first, Ian Pearson’s, explored information technology, the second, David Mercer’s starts from the individual and reaches out to the world. Ian Pearson, BT’s futurologist, explored long-term drivers in IT in this debate. This is the context in which future schools and the future of educational leadership and teachers’ careers are now being redefined. This future, where the work–life balance needs to be achieved, includes:

Individual empowerment. This will focus on: Women’s century – women are better qualified to work in the new information society and to provide the more caring management leadership now demanded. Different forms of family – new extended forms which are emerging from the breakdown of the nuclear family will offer many women sole charge of the family.

There will be a focus on smaller communities rather than nation-states. New politics – the decline of political parties will accelerate. People will want the right to determine their own destinies, as evidenced by the growth in consumer power; this will extend 212 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP 8615book.qxd 18-Apr-04 11:32 PM Page 212 to the replacement of political parties.

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New values and search for meaning – the move to individual empowerment will result in a comparable shift in values. The emerging reality of personal fulfilment will stimulate the search for new meanings in life which marketers and employers will need to address

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