Last week at USU Extension's Annual Conference I had the opportunity to give a presentation entitled, "Fixing Extension by Utilizing Innovative Technology," with two other colleagues whom I look up to and respect a great deal. While we focused on positive solutions to the relevancy gap Extension faces and how we can close it using various mobile and web apps...I still managed to offend a few colleagues. On the anonymous evaluation sheets I got back, my favorite quote was:
Can you imagine writing a blog when you worked for Nike or Coke & saying the company "is broken?" You would be fired.
In response, "Yes, I can certainly imagine doing something like this." If something is broken, I'm going to say it...and I'm going to give my input on how to fix it. I might even try to rally support. I just can't accept the status quo. I just can't let the Emperor parade on by without exclaiming, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Nevertheless I appreciate the feedback, no matter how much I disagree, my intention is to be completely respectful to everyone.
During the presentation I rattled off a list of some of the tools I use to be an effective 21st Century Extension Professional. Did I provide a handout, no. If it's important to you, write it down. I'd rather save a tree than print off a useless handout that will never get used. I did promise to provide a the list, so here it is:
Recently Facebook announced that it's acquiring WhatsApp, a small tech company with a little more than 50 employees and barely making $300 Million in revenues for...drumroll...$19 Billion. The sum is only 13 times Facebook’s entire 2013 net income and more than twice Facebook’s 2013 gross revenues.
But what does Facebook's acquisition have to do with the Cooperative Extension System? There happens to be a leadership lesson we can learn here: Move fast to avoid irrelevancy.
Last month I had the opportunity to teach LEGO robotics platforms at the National Youth Summit on Robotics in Chevy Chase, MD. The summit was held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center for youth from across the country.
It was a tremendous opportunity to be involved in the planning process and make it happen for so many young leaders.
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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