Strategic planning for school libraries - wicked problems

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Getting ready to put together a strategic planning team, understanding critical success factors, and the nature of wicked problems. …

Getting ready to put together a strategic planning team, understanding critical success factors, and the nature of wicked problems.

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  • Photo from Lin Pernille Photography CC license


  • 1. Strategic Planning for School Libraries
    Part one: Planning to deal with a wicked problem by facilitating shared understanding
  • 2. Strategic planning is about managing risk
    What are the risks for school libraries?
    What are the challenges?
    What are the opportunities now and in the future?
    If we don’t manage risk, what are the likely outcomes?
    What is your current school library ‘brand’?
    How are you perceived by your educational community?
    If the knives come out, will they stand up and fight for the library and your job?
    What value do they attach to you and your role?
  • 3. Critical success factors
    Explicit support and backing from senior management team is crucial
    Find a salesperson – someone with the gift of the gab – is it you?
    Find teachers who are ready to work with you (teacher life-cycle)
    Learn to speak curriculum, assessment, the language of pedagogy
    Understand the nature of wicked problems
    Understand social complexity, and the problems inherent in project work
  • 4. You are dealing with a very wicked problem
    “How can I embed the school library in the curriculum, making it central to teaching and learning in my school?”
  • 5. Wicked problemsWhat are they?
    Wicked problems have no right or wrong answer
    Wicked problems have a no stopping rule – they keep throwing up more problems!
    When you do come up with a solution, you will not know with certainty that it will work – you simply have to try implementing it, and assess the outcomes, be prepared to be flexible.
  • 6. Social and technological complexity
    Working as a group to solve a wicked problem is difficult
    It will be fraught with the potential for fragmentation
    From social complexity – the range of people involved, their world views, the ‘language’ they speak
    Technological complexity will be an issue – the language of technology, speed of change
  • 7. Working towards shared understanding
    Recommended reading:Dialogue Mapping:  Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems by Jeff Conklin, Ph.D.
    Compendium software for dialogue mapping
    Improved facilitation processes
    Real shared understanding can be achieved
    Manage social and technological complexity
  • 8. Summarizing the process, so far
    Understand why school libraries are at risk
    Understand your existing library brand
    Identify the changes you need to make
    Connect to the curriculum, your school’s goals, vision and charter
    Become comfortable speaking curriculum and the language of pedagogy
    Begin to build the team to help you effect change
    Understand the complexities and inherent risks in project work
    Understand the nature of the wicked problem you are trying to solve
    Get ready to work together to create a strategic plan and solve your wicked problem…
  • 9.
  • 10. Photo credit
    Background image courtesy of Lin Pernille Photography CC License