Posts Tagged ‘disruption’

The Evolution of Online Education and its Future Real-Life Applications

June 5, 2013

Once considered a threat to traditional higher educational institutions, online course offerings now seem to be a defining element in creating and maintaining a world-class reputation in the space. Speaking at the BRITE ’13 Conference, Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University’s first chief digital officer, discussed how the growing demand for massive open online courses (MOOCs) is disrupting conventional thought around the school’s many programs.


There are several platforms in place already, including Harvard and MIT’s co-created platform edX, and for-profit providers Coursera and Udacity, with the landscape changing daily as colleges and universities around the globe explore digital learning models and test them in larger markets. This past April, Stanford University, a long-time advocate for open learning, struck an agreement to share its proprietary Class2Go platform with edX, GigaOm reported.

Despite the growing number of courses offered online and the increasing appetite for them, the sentiment around online degrees seems to be a different story. As discussed in a US News & World Report piece in late 2012, it is still unclear how far down the road major blue-chip organizations are from universally embracing job candidates with online degrees, although smaller organizations have begun to look more seriously at them. Similarly, many schools themselves have reservations – Columbia being one of them. Administration is reluctant to provide online MBA courses for full credit, stating that a large part of the experience happens on campus and in the traditional classroom setting. Given how quickly online ed has taken hold in the past year alone, Sreenivasan predicted more and more accredited institutions will likely begin to offer full-fledged programs.  He explained that the advancement of and increasing accessibility to technology would be a key driver in this space. Columbia, he pointed out, has been involved with online ed since the turn of the century, citing its Fathom project, a learning portal which ran from 2000-2003. He said that its failure to catch on was due to the fact that it was “ahead of its time” and needed people to catch up to, and be able to access, the innovation before it could succeed.

Whatever the challenges, Sreenivasan was adamant that any successful initiative would be rooted in Columbia’s commitment to its brand, claiming that ongoing exploration and testing of online courses would not detract from “the magic that happens in the classroom.” Instead, he expects to optimize how both the digital and physical classrooms operate. How? The same way other big businesses improve their product and services: data. Through the ability to offer classes to tens of thousands of students, educators are able to collect enormous amounts of information on how students interact with courses and online tools. From Sreenivasan’s perspective, it is only a matter of time before digital learning becomes mainstream.

Watch Sree Sreenivasan’s BRITE ’13 talk to learn more about his and other organization’s views on the future of online education.


Disruptive Innovation [VIDEO]

January 18, 2012

Luke Williams, NYU Stern School of BusinessSocrates taught us to question every assumption. And when it comes to innovation, nothing could be closer to the truth. But Luke Williams, professor of Innovation & Design at NYU Stern School of Business and author of DISRUPT, takes this notion a step further—”disruptive innovation.”

Speaking at the BRITE ’11 conference, Williams explained that companies today tend to have a myopic vision when using new technologies to build their brands. Digital magazines, for example, may offer more features, but they’re still giving consumers what they expect in ways that they expect. “As a result, a lot of our brand-building around these new technologies has taken on some pretty predictable trajectories.”

Disruptive innovation, however, is not about technological change. According to Williams, it’s about a revolution in behavior and “changing the way you think about a category.” Brands need to move beyond focusing on what the latest technology can do for their company or product. Williams challenged the audience to break free from conventional assumptions about a category to see from a new perspective. To do so, he reminds us to be careful of cultural influence and to pay attention to context, not just the foreground.

As consumers and the marketplace evolve, it is increasingly important to embrace disruptive innovation before it is forcibly imposed by a new competitor or shifting consumer landscape. To quote Harvard Law School professor, Roberto Unger, “the task of the imagination is to do the work of crisis without crisis.”


Think Disruptively to Transform Your Business

February 23, 2011

Disrupt by Luke Williams“The old mantra, ‘differentiate or die,’ is no longer relevant,” Luke Williams (a BRITE ’11 speaker) claims in his recently published Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. “The real mantra should be ‘differentiate all you want, but figure out a way to be the only one who does what you do, or die.'” Disrupt reflects Luke’s immense experience creating breakthrough solutions while working at frog design, one of the world’s leading innovation firms.  Luke has more than a decade of international strategy and design experience working with industry leaders like American Express, GE, Sony, Crocs, Virgin and Disney to develop new products, services and brands.

Disruptive thinking is “a way of thinking that turns consumer expectations upside down and takes an industry into its next generation.”  In his work with clients and as an Adjunct Professor of Innovation at NYU Stern School of Business, Luke provides a disruptive thinking framework that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Reminiscent of our own Faculty Director Bernd Schmitt’s process of “killing sacred cows,” Luke details in an article for Mashable how to create disruptive hypothesis that smash your industry’s clichés to uncover innovative products and marketing strategies. In one example, he highlights Red Bull’s inversion of two standards in the soda category: that “soda is inexpensive” and that “soda tastes good.” Instead, “[Red Bull] placed absolutely no importance on taste, the product is double the price of Coca-Cola, and it dispensed with marketing aspirational images. The message was that Red Bull may not necessarily make you feel happy, but it’ll definitely give you a shot of energy when you need it.”

Hear Luke Williams speak at our BRITE ’11 conference (March 2-3, 2011). Register now!


%d bloggers like this: