Luke Johnson has a fun piece in today's Financial Times -- "Muddling through is a strategy that works." As he points out, "our instinct is to look for the black and white solution to a problem. But that approach applies rather better in theory than in practice."
Johnson is a serial entrepreneur, and, given how much we're now talking about entrepreneurship (as a concept) in independent education, there is much to glean from his insights.
For instance, he writes that "one needs to be adaptable and opportunistic to make progress. Unfortunately, [...] schools [and other entities, consultancies, etc.] can't offer guides to 'muddling through' - so it is rarely promoted as a wise philosophy [...]."
Isn't that the very issue with which we are grappling right now in schools, as we transition from an industrial economy/culture to a creative economy/culture? We are struggling with how to transition our curricula and programs from discipline-specific approaches with a "this is how we do it, always" mentality into approaches that promote adaptability and resilience? As Johnson says, "entrepreneurs tend to be experts at muddling through. They can cope with significant uncertainties in their work, while retaining a sense of confidence and a feel for priorities."
He cites able founders of start-ups who have learned what he calls "the art of the pivot," meaning that they've been able to change their business model(s) completely because their initial concept didn't succeed. Resilience, n'est-ce pas? Or, to use another word, muddling.
Instead of the 'strategy' of muddling through, we ought to consider it the art of muddling through. An aspirational goal, perhaps?