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Integral Education: Strategic Challenges and roadmap ahead (XXVIII): What is a roadmap?

An Integral Education Roadmap ahead…

coffee for two 2

Are you ready for a cup of coffee? Aquarelle exercise Eleonora Escalante

I will like to summarize this beautiful theme “Integral Education: Strategic Challenges and Roadmap ahead” with this last section (in two publications). Today is the first one. As a strategic policymaker, I tend to be a bit sarcastic when I listen to other strategists about how they define the “strategic roadmap”. I simply don´t like how it is used. Why? Because it is not a roadmap.

Many “strategy leaders” or CEOs or strategic managers use the term “roadmap” as a synonym of strategic planning. It is used for different purposes (product roadmap, IT roadmap, strategy roadmap, security roadmap, etc). The term “roadmap” has different connotations, undertones, and implications. And when this happens, it is time to go back to the roots of it. In business and economics, we have inherited a concept which is manipulated wrongly.  Even higher standard entities as the World Bank with so many strategists at their service are using the concept wrong.

Let´s dig better into this. We will start to write what is not a strategic roadmap.

roadmap template pest

Typical Roadmap

For example, when in my consulting past life, I asked a couple of CEOs if they have a roadmap to attain their objectives or strategic goals, and they were not sure which page from so many pages they have to show us as the roadmap. Usually, CEO and managers believe that a roadmap is a “Detailed plan to guide progress towards a goal”. And they land us in a project management task page…  kind of a strategic plan sheet summary, where the goals are written, and the objectives are listed following a schedule of months and days. In addition, this excel table is usually linked to the desired outcomes and finally, it shows the list of steps one by one needed to reach their strategic objectives. There is nothing wrong with a strategic plan sheet used as a communication tool for helping the managers to stay on track. But that is not a strategic roadmap.

Let me explain the concept of a roadmap. Starting from the basics.

road-signs-icon-collection_1410-62.jpgThe term roadmap was coined at the end of the XVIII century with this straightforward definition: “A map showing roads especially for automobile travel” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Though there are ocean roadmaps and aviation roadmaps too. For today´s purpose, I will stick to the automobile one, in my quest to explain you modestly and unpretentiously.

The reason why we want to stick to the original definition of a roadmap in terms of strategy at the corporate level is prosaic. We can´t plan a route, without considering the rest of the routes. A good roadmap has sense for us, ONLY when we visualize and we are conscious of the wrong routes. Let´s see the concept with the following drawing.

concept of a roadmap

danger keep outIn my quest to explain you this concept (“Pouvez vous me fournir une carte de routiere S.V.P”), as I explained it to my business school students some years ago… I have drawn 5 possible routes to go from A to B. All of these auto routes take us from the point A to point B. It is like when you type an address in google maps. Or alternatively, when you are using the GPS in your car. There are some roads which are more difficult than others. And there are routes which are impossible (at least using automobile). The first route,  Route (A) is the red one. It can be seen as forthright and the best example, the preferred one by the value chain strategists, who will be happy to embrace it because it is efficient and less costly, but little you know that this route has a precipice. A cautious sign is reporting us in advance about it, which is a warning to us beforehand.

Route (B) is the green one. It has a lot of turns from left to right, from right to left. Yet it shows No entry signs, stops, etc. This route doesn´t take us to anywhere, and we will have to return back to point A, sooner or later.

Route (C) (the yellow one): This route has steep inclinations, unreasonable and abrupt changes. This route has sections of one way only, and it is longer and recurrent. In addition, it will take us to that same spot of danger cliff edge that applies to route A and route D

Route (D), the brownie chocolate color, is a fantastic highway, it is like the German autobahns were you can drive above 130 km-hour. Nevertheless, even though it looks correct in terms of speed (as Industry 4.0), it also takes us quickly to the same dangerous cliff edge point.

Route (E), the blue one, seems to be the right one. However, we have a big problem here: this route has to be done. It is not yet developed. It is only on paper, and it will require investments to build it. It is a nonexistent route, and it needs to be built learning from the past lessons of the rest of the wrong roads. It will take time but we are secure. We can use this roadmap for at least 500 years duration.

We do not mean to tell you which roadmap is the right one in terms of integral education today. Because I do not have the whole truth in my hands. No one has it.  This is a roadmap that needs to be done by many people who are knowledgeable, wise, with expertise, and with much wisdom from the past, present, and future to bring into the table. (Expertise from the 4 generations: Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z).  All we can remark is that we can´t continue creating mess into our planet. And we need to foresee education as the key to stop all the problems we have inherited from the past ancestors, which were not visionaries enough to stop products, services and even technology which seemed to be right when in reality it wasn´t.

eliescalante poverty causes 2019 january

In our pursuit for integral education, which roadmap will you use? The shortest routes with danger, the longest ones with no end, or the one that is solid, yet it has to be built (learning from the lessons of our more than 4000 years of past experiences). Can we think of an integral road map that will last at least 500 years from now? No matter what technologies arise, Quel est le meilleur chemin, le plus court, le plus interessant, le plus rapide, ou le plus integrale? 

Next publication will be the last one of this saga. Instead of providing a project management roadmap, I will share with you a list of elements that need to be included in our roadmap. I won´t provide the route, it is up to all of us to think, talk, discuss, go back and forth and try to find it. Just take me into account, please.

Blessings have a beautiful day.

Thank you.bee

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown or hand drawings on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos posted unless otherwise stated.


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