A recent piece on the Harvard Business Review blog suggests that the previous 10 years was a decade of ideas.
The author reminds us of 2002's The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, which was embraced by leaders in business and local government as a new model for community development and economic growth, based on attracting creative people with new ideas.
And of course the rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking media has been happening all around us -- they too grew out of great ideas.
But are great ideas enough?
"What is in short supply," the blog post asserts, "are visionary thinkers who will be capable of making sense of this abundance of stimuli -- visionaries who will build the arenas to unleash the power of ideas and transform them into actions." He goes on to predict that the next 10 years will be a decade of visionary thinking.
Theological eduction has likewise experienced a decade of ideas -- dozens of theological schools have been finding new ways to survive and capitalize on innovative technologies, modes of ministries, and types of teaching. But you can probably count on two hands the number of schools that have put forth dynamic new visions that challenge and then transform the deepest assumptions that theological education is built on.
As theological schools face declining enrollments, sagging endowments, globalization, and a more diverse pool of students, good ideas will allow many schools to survive to see another entering class in the fall. But new visions of what theological education can be will be required for such schools to thrive for decades to come.
We'd love to hear your suggestions of schools that are truly reshaping themselves for the 21st century. Your comments are welcome. Meanwhile, you can read the Harvard Business Review blog post here.