Friday, November 14, 2008

Higher Ed-preneurship

All of our institutions are being challenged today by changing circumstances and will need to creatively adapt or die out. GM is the archetypal industrial age institution and it is failing because for whatever reasons its management and unions will not adapt to the new environent. Our system of higher education is in the same boat. We take the way colleges are organized and the way higher education is delivered for granted, but it is a recent development of the past 50-60 years. We need to think creatively about what it means to be educated in our time and how to train people for economic success. This is really a great opportunity for creative thinking. It may seem disrupting to some people, but these times only come now and again and we should be grateful that we live in an era that offers us the opportunity to invent the next era's institutions.

Like so many of our great industries and social sectors, higher education has grown huge, bureaucratic, and in many cases bloated (think 24-hour coffee shops in dorms). The ongoing trends of globalization, technology, and innovation continue to pressure societies and economies and America’s world leading system of higher education is going to have to respond just like other great institutions. There will not be enough ‘bailout’ money for everyone getting in line.

The campus as a vibrant market has always been one of the reasons that campus entrepreneurs exist. As our system of higher education undergoes these massive transformations, entrepreneurs of all sorts will push the change with new models, services, and firms. The best will reap incredible rewards.

No comments: