Scanning Retrospective, No. 30

‘From the pages of prospect’ – No. 5

[Originally published] Issue 4, June 2001

  • Linking Strategic Thinking with Strategic Planning
  • Changing Ideas of the University
  • Bridging the Divide
  • Trend Alert: Recruiters Will Reach Into High Schools

Welcome to the June 2001 edition of prospect.

As usual, the choice of articles is guided by consideration of the five strategic themes of the university, as well as “wildcards.” In this issue we have articles on: linking strategic thinking with strategic planning; changing ideas of the university; bridging the divide between higher education and TAFE; and a forecast dealing with just how early industry recruiters in the USA might start trying to recruit college students to their companies.

As ever, I hope you find these articles interesting and thought-provoking.

Linking Strategic Thinking with Strategic Planning

The need to create a capability for strategic thinking at multiple organisational levels has increasingly been recognised as central to creating and sustaining competitive advantage in the face of the rapid environmental change that characterises many business environments today. Strategic thinking is traditionally defined as creative, disruptive, future-focused, and experimental in nature and seen to be at odds with traditional notions of strategic planning. Redefining strategic thinking in terms of a systems or holistic view, a focus on intent, thinking in time, a hypothesis-driven approach, and an ability to be intelligently opportunistic integrates the concept more comfortably into the strategic planning process.

Liedtka, Jeanne M. 1998. ‘Linking Strategic Thinking with Strategic Planning’. Strategy and Leadership 26(4):30–35. Reprinted with permission.

Changing Ideas of the University

[excerpted from Introduction]
The university has tended to absorb and accumulate the changing aspirations—and perhaps also the presumptions—of successive generations and, not surprisingly it has also come to disappoint them. Today, the university is also expected to treat its students as consumers, and so students have begun to blame their teachers for their failures; there is even a new trend for failing students to sue. It is hardly surprising that the terms “training”, “education”, “scholarship” and “excellence” are buried like unexploded bombs beneath all discussion of the future of universities. With the growth in student numbers has come a devaluation in the currency of a degree, with graduates no longer feeling confident of achieving high salaries and high status in later life. The expansion has been accompanied by a squeezing of resources, as is now widely acknowledged, and this has manifested itself in growing student poverty, declining academic salaries, falling academic social status, and in the increasingly shabby fabric of universities themselves.

Smith, Anthony, and Frank Webster, eds. 1997. ‘Changing Ideas of the University’. In The Postmodern University? Contested Visions of Higher Education in Society. Open University Press. (Reprinted with permission)

Bridging the Divide

[excerpted from Description]
The purpose of the study summarised in this article was to examine the advantages and disadvantages of cross-sectoral provision of education and training. What policy changes would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of dual-sector provision? The study addressed the question of how the efficiency and effectiveness of dual-sector provision could be improved.

This article is the Executive Summary of a report undertaken for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The full article is available for download as a PDF file from the NCVER web site. Reprinted with the permission of NCVER.

Wheelahan, Leesa. 2000. ‘Bridging the Divide: Developing the Institutional Structures That Most Effectively Deliver Cross-Sectoral Education and Training’. Adelaide, South Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Trend Alert: Recruiters Will Reach Into High Schools

For years, corporate recruiters have been active on college and university campuses. Corporate recruiters from international, national and regional companies will seek to reach top students with two objectives in mind: to build awareness and interest in their companies for the college recruiting experience, and second, to explore opportunities to gain early commitments from these students through internships. The forecast is that both corporate and industry recruiters will become more visible in high schools all over.

Copyright © 2001 by The Herman Group. Reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From “The Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger and Joyce Herman, Strategic Business Futurists,

prospect is a quarterly publication of The Foresight & Planning Unit, Swinburne University of Technology.

Futura tenaciter in prospectu tenemus

This publication is intended to serve the broader Swinburne community, by highlighting areas of interest and concern to Swinburne stakeholders, by helping us take a long-term foresight view, and to expand our perceptions of our strategic options as we move forward together into our common future.

This collection is © 2001 FPU and Swinburne University of Technology. Copyright for the individual articles resides with the original authors and/or the original sources as listed. All articles have been used either with express permission or, where express permission is not required, following stipulated re-use guidelines.

NOTE: In all the posts in this series, the original source URLs are left exactly as they were when published 20-odd years ago. This means they will almost certainly be dead links (or good ol’ 404 errors). I do not have the patience or inclination to follow-up or find any archived or re-located versions of those web pages (because, well, life is too short). But, if it really bugs you, I invite you to see if you can find archived or relocated versions of those dead-link pages. And if you do, let me know, and I’ll update these posts with due credit to your detective work.

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