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P7 Ecosystem Dynamics

Page history last edited by Jenna Ream 14 years ago


P7 Ecosystem Dynamics.


Framing of this issue:

Education is a complex social ecosystem, with important interactions among stakeholders that are, in many cases, difficult to influence or control.  


Problem Dimensions (ecosystem domain & boundaries):

What are the steps that must be taken to mobilize leaders across this Ecosystem to drive change?


Each stakeholder group approaches information, problems and solutions with their own agenda and filters.  How do we create space to share perspectives and ideas to better understand issues and drive true solutions?

What data can we review to drive this analysis?


Who Has the Problem (supervising jurisdictions & implementation focus):

All Education stakeholders. 


A. Problem Statement:

  • How can we harness the complexity that is inherent in Public Education? 
  • What is the best forum for interaction, collaboration and solution debate?
  • Are all stakeholder aware of the need and willing to participate?


B. Process Description (if applicable):

  • Document Ecosystem stakeholders, simple rules and flows that comprise the Education ecosystem (P1-P10 process models).
  • Create teams to frame problems and solutions in iterative cycles.
  • Document current state and future state paradigms.
  • Gain consensus.
  • Prioritize.
  • Pursue innovations where critical mass exists. 


C. Actors & Behaviors (desired, undesired): see new GRID analysis here for our latest thinking on definitions, roles, filters & issues for each    ALSO- recognition that stakeholder viewpoint and action is interdependent, not independent.

  • Federal DoEd
  • State Legislators
  • School Boards / Districts / LEA's 
  • School System Administrations (administer policy)
  • Principals / School Administrators
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Employers
  • Business owners- local and national- interest in influencing future consumers
  • Home-owners (school reputations affect property values) 
  • Realtors 
  • Parents


Concepts captured from 5/12 twitter chat:



  • Foundational beliefs and culture change- using worldview difference as an analogy of different perspectives of what education 'should be'
  • Filters drive stakeholder participation- Senge 'mental models' & Kuhn 'paradigm blindness' - we (& ecosystem actors) view world thru filters 
  • Social Darwinism (application of Darwin's ideas, not original Darwinian POV or points) 


School/ Business Partnerships: strengths and concerns

1) curricular pathways to support specific skills training


2) liberal arts K-12 focus: creativity, rhetorical thinking, general knowledge


3) problem solving/ critical thinking/ practical application of theory




1) business driven schooling programs creates false pretense- business agenda drives decision-making

2) career focus- NOT for K-12. 10-12- potentially. 9-10 maybe. before that children need to focus on learning to learn, not end game of future career/ job readiness

3) business pours money into edu w/ specific goals- skills/jobs outsourced or obsolete- then what?



1) Who establishes where business investment is needed? Is it a function of community planning? 


2) Is the place for partnership more business/community well-being, rather than biz/edu to promote + change in teaching and learning objectives/ curriculum content/ instructional methodology?


3) How do we define Return On Investment? Does it differ by stakeholder? Is there a 'common good' definition? where does it intersect with individual/corporate interest?  (IS THIS THE CENTRAL QUESTION OF P7????)



1)  finding symbiotic, win-win relationships 





D. Process Model (picture(s) & flow(s) as needed):

  • diagrams of flow that may be relevant to understanding or solutions for this issue? 


E. Process Rules:

  • what are constraints, actual or implied? 


F. Outcomes (desired, undesired):

  • Increased cooperation, efficiency and productivity across all actors in the Education space.
  • Creation of "pipeline metaphor" for talent development.


G. External Context: 

  • Considerable "external impact" on this entire issue. Must be fully developed and integrated with external programs to gain desired results. 


Other sources or references relative to this topic



Comments (3)

Michael J said

at 5:33 pm on May 6, 2010

In my own work on organizational change, I've found it pretty useful to focus on the actor that has the proximate power in a specific situation. This will be different depending on the district and the time of intervention. If one gets close to an election cycle, candidates from either party should be pretty open to innovations that save money and deliver superior results.

In non election cycles, I've found that it's often the school principal. My point is that if specific parts of the innovation strategy are framed as an action proposal that minimizes risk , requires little direct new behavior and has the possibility of a significant upside, it's much easier to get to the "why wouldn't I do that" stage. In my own experience, the trick is to craft just the right intervention to the right person at the right time.

Chris Jones said

at 4:14 pm on May 9, 2010

Michael - an excellent point. The dynamics shift over time, in the case you outlined, due to political calendars. What other factors influence spending at State & local levels. Is it all politics? In other words, what are other ways that power & influence manifest in the K12 ecosystem? What of the role of businesses (as employers, investors, etc.)? Parents?

Michael J said

at 6:58 am on May 24, 2010

I think you've hit on something with "Parents." I came across a network of charter schools in Colorado Springs. From their mission statement at http://www.tcad20.org/

The Classical Academy exists to assist parents in their mission to develop
exemplary citizens equipped with analytical thinking skills, virtuous character,
and a passion for learning, all built upon a solid foundation of knowledge.
It's worth some time to go through what they're up to. They seem to be having some real success with innovative blended learning approaches. Flexible time schedules, creating a path for home schooling choices.

My hunch is that other factors become synchronized when the focus is clear and serving grownups with political power. I guess in that sense I believe that yes. It's all poltics.

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