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Extension > Family Matters > The Next Best Thing to a Secretary of the Future

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Next Best Thing to a Secretary of the Future

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs — Extension Center for Family Development

As many of you commute to work or drive to work locations, you may also listen to America Public Media’s radio show Marketplace. During this election year, Marketplace has been considering the idea of having a new cabinet position, Secretary of the Future. This position would address long-term opportunities and threats. The person appointed would be commissioned to think beyond a single federal budget or election cycle.

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This is not such a far-flung idea.

The government of Sweden appointed Kristina Persson to the position of Sweden’s Minister for Strategic Development. Her job to think about the future and make sure Sweden is well-positioned for it (Read or listen: Meet Sweden’s Secretary of the Future). The Aspen Institute convenes a yearly conference, Aspen Ideas, to link the world’s foremost thinkers with civically-minded leaders in business, the arts, politics, sciences, humanities, and philanthropy, and to ultimately inspire thought to action.

In Family Development, we are embarking on a similar journey. We will be using program business plans as a tool to prioritize our work and resources, to identify long-term opportunities and threats, and translate ideas to action. So in other words, we ALL take on the job of Secretary of the Future. Those of you who attend Fall Extension Program Conference will be introduced to the concept and tools to facilitate the process. Those of you who have been working on plans of work recently have already played a role in informing this process. Stay tuned.

Most importantly, consider and reflect daily on long-term opportunities and threats to families locally, regionally, state-wide, nationally and internationally. How are we preparing ourselves to meet their dynamic needs?

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