Disruption and Innovation in Education

I recently spoke to an audience of educators on ‘Developing an Innovative Mindset”. Merging research on educational innovation mindset into my business case studies,  I linked education innovation to innovations we are seeing in the business world.  I presented the statistics coming from the Global Innovation Index that highlights Australia’s worsening ability to turn our innovation inputs into innovation outputs. We are certainly facing challenges in the competitive global market place.

At the Q&A session, the natural question came up ; “What innovation can you foresee happening in the education space?” The education market is tightly regulated, driven by a bureaucracy with high compliance levels. Governments require measures and standards from their funded institutions and the education machine is driven from that. In my answer, I spoke about the need for innovation to come from within the “accepted playing field”  as in the business world when disruption is driven from outside the “accepted playing field” it changes the industry forever,

I would assume when working within the “accepted playing field” innovation is limited due to standardisation and government required curriculum’s. Many schools are innovating where possible  to drive innovative practices and develop the mindset of our future leaders and entrepreneurs.

But what could happen external to the playing field to disrupt the education space?

Lets have a look at some of the disruption models we have seen in the business world and apply a “what-if” scenario.

What is the Problem?

All innovation starts with a question, and ends with an answer to that question. The strengths of the education industry could also be it’s weakness.

Standardised processes opens up opportunities to create selective niches and to better serve them.

Could governing bodies look to more efficient delivery of the education curriculum? What will be the disruptive driver that changes innovation in education forever?

The Uber Model

Would it be possible to create a network of teachers around the globe you could call on demand to teach subjects? Could you imagine choosing the teacher for your child based on ratings like what we see on Google, Facebook and on the Uber app? We all have a favourite teacher from our school, under the Uber model you could potentially build a teaching team for your child that would connect at all levels and improve the learning experience for the student.

A mixed delivery model revolving around technology would enable flexibility for the student. A high value proposition for parents to choose. Could that change the industry?

Mass Customisation

A disruptive model we are seeing in the retail space, is mass customisation.  Consumers are able to customise a range of products for their personal consumption, from shoes to simpler items like Iphone covers. Could this be applied to education?

Would it be possible for students to choose their customised curriculum from a wide range of options? Could you imagine a world where students did one subject at ones school and then accessed different subjects from other schools. Imagine the virtual opportunities and the chance to take subjects from any school around the world, as part of our standard curriculum? Could it happen?

Imagine being able to pick and choose a customised curriculum at any time and every level. Instead of being stuck to a rigid offer from an institution, the ability to blend and merge the subjects to best suit your learning. Could that change the industry?

Virtual Classroom Combination

Imagine a classroom equipped with the technology to stream online.? Every time a physical class takes shape,that same class could be beamed out around the world and would reach hundreds more students per subject. The online cohort may be supported by online moderators and mentors, to ensure effective delivery of the subject matter. This may be driven by a growth  model designed to get our best teachers in front of more students. Is there potential for schools to drive greater reach and revenue creating satellite offices using this methodolgy

Innovation in Education

Disruption of education would cause pain to existing organisations but it would also open up opportunity. One thing is certain, disruption is certain for education. We have seen it in industries we never thought was possible, and while the dedicated professionals within the industry search for best practice and case studies on bringing technology into the classroom, somewhere in the world, someone has the idea to disrupt the industry forever. Innovation in education.



Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Tony Curl
Author: Tony Curl

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