- Author: Wendy Powers
To clarify, it was not that I did not have anything to do last week; I just didn't have many meetings scheduled. The week of few meetings is clearly over. It was actually over by Friday when the day was very much focused on doing things differently in order to gain better position going forward.
One of the remarks I heard on Friday was “if you only aim for the moon, you'll never get out of the atmosphere”. Normally, I consider myself as one who is open to change and able to think big. But I had sat with a group of entrepreneurs the evening before who had me wondering if I might be stuck a bit and with limited imagination. The individual immediately next to me talked about some of his plans for development in his home country of Grenada and he clearly aimed well past the moon. During his week in CA alone, he was beginning to think about how to develop a university-based Extension system in Grenada, convincing the government to redirect the funds from federal agencies to the university.
When I was in Des Moines a couple of weeks ago Chavondra Jacobs-Young, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, talked about the need to move beyond incremental change in productivity research in order to meet the food needs of a growing population. This reminded me of the TedTalk by Guy Kawasaki I listened to not long ago. I suspect Dr. Jacobs-Young had many of the technologies identified by Standford Business in mind (thanks to Andrea Ambrose for sharing the article). I suppose that if you don't dream it, you'll surely never live it. Admittedly, I'm not quite sure how one really gets to a place where they can imagine what, to most, seems impossible. We need to get to that place with food production and even in how we think about delivering our programs and services in UC ANR. We need to make that jump from thinking about building a better horse for transport to building a car.
Mark Twain is credited with stating that “you can't trust your judgement if your imagination is out of focus”. Perhaps that's where the challenges lie. Our imagination isn't focused on transformational change but rather on the incremental change that won't push us far enough, fast enough.
It is interesting that all of these things came up just in the last week or so, alone, for me irrespective of the actual topic of conversation. Perhaps this suggests that the need to that next ‘car' is more urgent that I had previously thought. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
Looks like I have homework tonight; I didn't cross enough things off my list today. VP Council meets later this week and I need to get some things pulled together. Then I need to line up some things for the upcoming Ideation workshop and make sure I am caught up on my commitments to the new agreement with CDFA. No doubt I've forgotten an item or two. Who knows, maybe one of these items will lead to something bigger than an incremental change.