Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Animating the Dream

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Animating the Dream

Article excerpt

When we consider the word animation, many of us think of cartoons and Walt Disney's legacy in particular. Or we reflect on someone who is full of life, energized and eager. These are dynamics that change the context we live in and, from time to time, the world around us.

Having the NLN Education Summit 2016 in Orlando, Florida, featuring a Disney wonderland of animation, I gave some thought to the underlying creativity associated with animating something. Is animation just a segment of our world, reserved for those who innovate or invent something? Or, is animation something that we can achieve in all aspects of our lives?

Within academic institutions, there is often an unstated, but real, mandate to succeed in our highly competitive marketplace. Nurse faculty need to openly acknowledge this competition. The mandate is seen in many things we do, but the fact that it is a competition is not universally stated. We want the best and brightest faculty and students, the best NCLEX pass rates, and the best U.S. News & World Report rankings. Thus, we develop strategic visions and plans to make our competitive efforts manageable and acceptable within the academy, where the emphasis is on intellectual development and the flourishing of faculty and students.

Such competition, whether openly acknowledged or not, morphs into strategic visions and goals, often accompanied by tactics and activities designed to make those goals a reality. Written as short- or long-term objectives, these processes often devolve into endless lists of tasks to be accomplished, with accountability assigned to individuals and due dates set. The dream that might have sparked the original vision gets lost in the details, and daily routines of doing the work, and often the dream itself, are forgotten.

In their 1994 book Competing for the Future, Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad challenge us to be bold in our competitive world. Their calculated method to achieve boldness is to animate the dream, using the framework of strategic intent to capture the emotional and intellectual energy of the process. This approach captures the "misfit" between current resources and the goals, that is, the competitive goals of the organization.

Strategic intent, according to these authors, conveys a unique point of view of the future and one that conveys how the organization will be in that future (the dream). …

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