I was reading an article from the New York Times this morning, thinking about a news piece I heard on the radio regarding Education innovation, in combination with dropping my little brother off at his college campus dorm the other night, and instantly a quote from Moneyball appeared in my mind regarding the way Universities are implemented:
“This is threatening, not just a way of doing business, but its … in their minds it’s threatening the game … really what it’s threatening is their livelihood. It’s threatening their jobs. It’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s a government or a way of doing business or whatever it is … the people who are holding the reins … who have their hands on the switch, they go bat-shit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not tearing their team down right now, using your model, they’re dinosaurs…”
I am not privy to the exact implementation of the Cornell-Google model, but that last line from the quote is so true, and it applies to all business colleges and universities across the globe.
The article in the New York Times, When Job-Creation Engines Stop at Just One, had me take pause, and painted a gloomy picture in my mind about the job markets if your looking for a job. A decade ago, a Bachelors or Masters degree were prerequisites to filtering out candidates for jobs, and now the role specifications are referencing specific skills with experience, a lot of contract work, as the New York Times article describes, and has a solid rationale. For the innovation, I found an article regarding the Cornell-Google implementation and at first thinking a) this implementation is years away and b) I think it’s genius. I must admit, I am not privy to the exact administration of their education implementation model, but wow, anyone not tearing down their colleges and universities to follow a similar model will be an artifact of higher education, and their national economies will suffer as a result. Another article I read, again, The New York Times, Japan’s New Tech Generation, shows how people are taking it upon themselves, in it’s infancy, yes, however, they are meeting up to collaborate. There is a huge chasm in education which has not adapted to our economies. It is probably because our economies are evolving so fast, the education system has not had a chance to catch up.
Let’s paint a picture of the new university, where we have “transformation centers”, where we take a person like Mike Farmer from KANSAS CITY, Kan. in his single apartment room, a shared dorm room, or in his case, shared office space, in his third start-up, he is one employee, himself, and utilizes seven contractors who are also juggling multiple projects. Now envision, college with a board of skill sets, which are required for real-time business projects, and you have professors guiding the resources to complete their assignments, then you have the visionaries which are driving and collaborating on projects leveraging national industry professionals discussing today’s challenges, and these juniors and seniors form teams from the pools of skill set resources, the freshman, and sophomores. Skills ranging from technology to usability and design, marketing, arts and sciences, with the applications all practical and implementing them in real-time. Perhaps alumni are the industry professionals, which speak at these sessions, and collaborate on projects in between their own projects, forming mentor relationships with the juniors and seniors. Finally, transitioning from the colleges and universities, venture capitalists, and other financiers may choose to fund, or even acquire these small teams, which already have sustainable business models, proven ROI, or the business models show potential, sustainable models. Those who already have had classes have participated in business implementations, have a portfolio of work for employers, and potentially networked with professionals within various fields, and have recommendations on their work. Those graduates may even stay on their projects full time, which transition to full time opportunities. Another possibility are the colleges and universities stay as incubators, the graduates remain on campus after graduation, just like we see in outsourcing / off-shore models, teach classes, and become members of new teams, as needed. What were once ‘internships’ coveted by the few, are a necessity to become part of the college way of life. Those without projects, curriculum is completely transformed based on statistical data derived from job wanted advertisements, e.g. skills in high demand. Alumni, in between projects, and lacking innovation, sign up for ADHOC think tanks, and attempt to transform them into working resources.