Driving the Nitroglycerine Truck

Another aspect of independent school leadership that resembles driving a truckload of nitro down a steep, winding mountain road became apparent today in focus groups we are doing for a client in Chicago. About half the participating parents, give or take a few, were from the quill-and-slate crowd; that is, those who want their children sheltered from technology and all its assumed pernicious effects until well into high school (and perhaps beyond). The other half, give or take a few, were from the chip implant crowd; that is, those who think infants should come standard with a Thunderbolt port in their heads for directly streaming data. Balancing these two world views in a single school is where the explosive part comes in.

The conversation reminds me of Everett Rodgers famous diffusion of innovations lifecycle, described in a book of the same name.


For every technological innovation, from Rodgers original observations of the agricultural industry to today’s smartphones, he showed that one can expect both early adopters and pushback from resisters. The challenge for leadership is navigating through the technology storm without either the innovators or laggards blowing everything up.

Governance, Headship, Strategy  |  permalink

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