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Mobile Strategy: Can you NOT overthink it?

 I've begun working on a mobile strategy for my College, and I've almost immediately become bogged down in minutiae. Partly it's the incredibly fractured nature of the thing - there are dozens of devices and hundreds of teaching styles and thousands of apps... and just one of me. Partly it's because everybody wants to help. Mainly because everybody's an expert. It's taken me a while to realize that just because someone (myself included!) carries a mobile device (or three), that doesn't make them an expert in mobile. No matter how many degrees they have.

I started to lose track of the one thing that computers actually do: facilitate communication. Whether is word processing document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, a tweet, a post, music, video, audio, or a text message, it's all just communication. So my "mobile strategy" is really just a "communications strategy" that has to take into account a whole set of new devices that... well... communicate. That's actually a whole lot easier. Figure out the rules and regulations and strategies for communicating, and slotting new devices into those strategies is simply mechanics.

And here's the big secret: they don't have to all be done at once. Get the strategy right, then plan your roadmap for slotting the various devices in. Yes, everyone will whine that their device isn't first. But, face it, we've all dealt with that problem before - everybody always wants to be first. This time isn't any different.

Let's take a simple example: my faculty want to provide in-class polls. Now let's complicate it a bit: my Dean doesn't want to buy clickers. So I help my faculty create an on-line, Web-based poll. People can take it with desktops, laptops, tablets, slates, and even phones. I can add iPad and Android apps, but the back end is the same, and already done. I can add an SMS interface, but the back end is the same, and already done. And because everybody knows all those things are coming, and they see progress, the pressure on me gets to be a little less.

Anyway, that's my current thought on the big problem of Mobile Strategies. And so, I turn you you folks: what am I missing? Am I completely off base with this idea? Where did I go wrong? I look forward to your input.


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