A “Clean-Sheet” Perspective for Education: A Rationale Derived from Hagel and Brown

Interesting HBR article: Innovation Blowback: Disruptive Management Practices from Asia (Hagel & Brown, 2003).

Their main point

Companies offshore production to cut wages, gain access to skills and capabilities and seek new markets, but they fail to gain more than a small affluent segment of these emerging markets because they do not seek the level of innovations to target the demands of the larger low-wage market.  Long-term they then are often undercut by the local companies that do seek this level of innovation.

What do the authors recommend:

  1. Specialize, develop partnerships and orchestrate the resulting process network to extend your capabilities.
  2. Develop open collaborative environments and orchestrate innovation within these partnership networks.
  3. It is not enough to strip costs from existing products.  Instead, redesign products and processes from a “Clean-sheet” perspective in a way that amplifies your own distinctive capabilities and those of the partners in your network.

Relevance for Education

Whether it’s high school dropouts, workers needing re-training, organizations with new learning demands, higher expectations from graduates, or a multitude of other new demands for learning; we too are facing new and different “markets” for learning.  It is not enough just to make small adjustments to existing systems that were designed for other demands.  We need to redesign our educational products and processes by innovating within our own capabilities and by seeking open network partnerships to extend those capabiities.