A busy organised world requires us to spend a lot of time planning. If you want to undertake anything out of the ordinary that also requires planning.
My reflections on planning were triggered by a deadline I had to meet to provide an abstract for an event at which I was to be a keynote speaker in Macau in November. It forced me to think about what I was going to speak about and how I was going to structure my talk. This then led me to think about logistics of how I was going to get there. For the first time I searched to find out where exactly I was going and was pleasantly surprised to find it adjacent to Hong Kong. I discovered that there was a ferry service from the airport. I also checked out the visa situation with the conference organisers. I decided I would try and combine it with a flying visit to see my parents in Australia. So I spent a couple of hours searching for flights and comparing routes and costs and then drilling down how I would get to the airport early in the morning in Sydney. I found myself thinking about all sorts of things all of which were about imagining the future and what I needed to do inhabit that future.
This was not the only thing I planned this week I designed a workshop for an event at Southampton Solent University and interacting with co-presenters at the university. Thinking ahead to how we might better optimise our websites I also downloaded a booklet for future reading. I had a conversation with my daughter about how she might conclude the piloting of the Lifewide Development Award pilot. I also spent time thinking about our Lifewide Education conference next March and contacted two potential speakers and someone who could record the event. With my wife I discussed what we would eat at a dinner party planned for the weekend, and with my daughter we thought a few weeks ahead to her twins birthday party which she wanted to hold at our house. With my band I discussed the idea of a doing a concert in our garden in late August.. weather permitting!! Planning and thinking about the future in imaginative and analytical ways pervades all aspects of our life and without it I don't suppose as many things would happen.. or if they happened they would happen in a disorganised way without the results you want to achieve. Planning can simply be thinking generally about something in the future or it can be about deciding exactly what to do. And plans - the results of planning can be explicit and somewhat rigid or vague and fluid. And personal plans evolve over time with different levels of detail being added at different stages in a perpetually evolving process. And plans can be changed as new circumstances emerge. That's the beauty of planning... nothing is fixed until it has actually happened.
In my google searches this week (actually searching around what is learning?) I came across a nice short paper explaining why, in the corporate environment, planning is learning. Its trying to understand the future and all the complexities associated with it and trying to imagine how you get there. In doing so it is taking the fundamental step towards learning to find a way into the future. I think the same holds true when we plan our own future. In our imaginings we are trying to understand what we have to do in order to secure a future of a certain type... and from that point of imagining (our rough plans) we continually refine our thinking until we get there.
PLANNING AS LEARNING