Developing Foresight Capability at William Rainey Harper College 8

Tasks for the Trend Exercise

Task 1. The first task is to identify critical trends that define the context within which higher education functions. You will use the Nominal Group Process (see below) for this exercise. That is, the group facilitator will pose the question: What are the critical trends that define the context within which American higher education functions? Take five minutes to think about the question. Think broadly through the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political sectors, locally and globally. Then begin the round robin process to post nominations from individual group members to the flip chart. We will spend 20 minutes this part of the exercise. When I call time, you will discuss and clarify the trend statements. The purpose of this task is to ensure that group members understand and agree with the trend statements (prepare for some rewriting!). We have 30 minutes for this task.

Task 2. We will then prioritize the trend statements by each person in each group voting the five "dots" you will be given. The criteria for voting is for you to select the five most critical trends that will affect William Rainey Harper College. Put a dot on the left hand side of each trend statement (so that we can see the frequency distribution easily). Remember: one dot per trend.

Task 3. Select one trend, and, using the nominal group technique, derive the implications of that trend for William Rainey Harper College. When the discussion is exhausted (or upon my command, depending upon the time), we will then proceed to Task 4.

Task 4. This is the bottom line of the trend exercise: what should William Rainey Harper College do in light of the implications of the trend?