drawing,  leadership,  open practice,  stories,  things I like

Drawing 2020 – a bit of strategic ‘visual thinkery’

Earlier this year, I blogged about that I feel I am starting a ‘new job’ as things have changed so much over the past year… so this week on Friday I am having a strategy away day, pandemic style.

CEOs often get asked what success will look like in 3, 12 and 36 months. Asking yourself that question is a useful way to get your own thoughts in order and prioritising short, medium and long term goals.

Often, the kind of success measures or KPIs you’d include range from internal to the organisation to external stakeholder groups, from local to national to international. That’s the kind of thing an Impact Report is made for and that is important – but not helpful for me just now.

I am looking to re-imagine, to re-assess and to start from a blank page. Cue a bit of drawing and colouring…

Putting pen (and brush) to paper

I find it helpful to start with a blank page and the first thing I drew was a little flag, planted at the start of the year. It marks the launch of ALT’s (then) new strategy for 2020-25 (…best laid plans etc).

From there, it was a story of firsts… the first pivot online… our first ever fully online OER conference… the first time that we ran an event with 1,000+ registered participants, and the first ever time that we had to fully refund hundreds of paying delegates AND the first time those participants donated nearly £10,000 to help cover the losses we were making.

The first time that we drew up an emergency budget and plan just two months after setting the first ones… the first time we made an emergency strategy and held an emergency Board meeting.

In June we held our first ever fully online AGM with in-house voting. And in July, ‘business as usual’ included open calls for volunteers, editors, committee members – all for activities which were changing continuously.

Our first ever online Summer Summit took place in August, the first ever fully online awards short-listing process in September and the start of term saw us provide a second wave of support webinars, resources and care for an increasingly exhausted membership, preparing for an academic year that would be like… no one knew.

In November we launched our first ever CMALT Accelerator workshops and in December the Winter Conference saw our first ever online Awards Ceremony and first ever Community Award to every Learning Technologist.

By the end of the year, we had also published 49 new research papers, double the average number and the first time that we reached such a high number of publications.

A year of firsts – pandemic style.

Doing this drawing, sitting and thinking, letting my pen guide my thoughts, is incredibly helpful. It allows me to see beyond the KPIs and budget columns – and these don’t feel terribly meaningful anyway in a global pandemic context.

What does feel meaningful to me is the picture I have in my head of the past year. A picture of an agile, learning organisation where everyone contributed to us achieving a lot of successful firsts.

I also see thousands of professionals whom we have supported through the ups and downs of 2020… from sharing open resources and offering full scholarships to running support webinars and providing much needed CPD.

I like the idea of last year being a year of firsts and as well as all the bad stuff, there are a lot of positives to take with us.

The next blank piece of paper is going to be for 2021. A year of… ?

What success for ALT looked like… in 2020