The Before

I was chatting with a colleague asking him if he had any insights into two different strategic planning engagements that I’m being asked to help with. He said, “those are both from The Before. I’m not sure they make sense now. Where will the funding come from? Is this the most critical thing?”

That struck me – The Before. Will this be a point in time we talk about like 9/11? I remember flying before 9/11 – you could practically walk out to the gate 20 minutes before your flight. I remember just having plane tickets that were tickets. You could give them to someone else to use if you couldn’t use them.

Will we talk about The Before? No one wore masks on buses in The Before. In The Before, there was no single-payer health care really [This is aspirational – editor]. What is it we will carry forward into The After (I call it A.D. – After Donald)? Will we be proud of the adaptations and our responses or will they be ugly stains like the xenophobia and racism against Muslims that rose up from 9/11?

Will we say, “in The Before, people really didn’t get how important teachers and schools were that why there are all these new programs to help out K-12”. Will we point to new public science that is working on vaccines and disease tracking and drug discovery and say, “All of this was driven by the events of The Before”?

Will Higher Education embrace (truly and deeply) remote teaching and learning as well as on premise and learn to do it well? Will new tools appear to help build true engagement through a screen?

Let us hope that we look back at The Before with awe and think of all of the great things that came from it, not just the death and loss of incomes. Let us hope that this is a period of growth, not just survival.

P.S. The image above is from I really don’t know anything about her other than I like the framework she put out.