Social Media is now truly social – permeating every aspect of everyday life across generations. It has spawned businesses that have become household names, from eBay to Amazon, and individual behaviors that are quite literally changing society. Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism demonstrates the explosive growth of social media and the new skills – listening, learning and sharing – it requires. Not only innovators and thought leaders – but also such institutional stalwarts as PBS and the Library of Congress have embraced the moment and evolved. Which begs the question: Where is the education community?
While the Penn State scandal and abdication of leadership is deplorable and unfortunately merits its sad attention, what happened at the venerable University of Virginia this spring is, in another way, astounding. It laid bare the unrelenting business assault roiling educational institutions, their custodians and their brands.
The TED conference began in 1984 with the simple goal of bringing the top minds of the Technology, Entertainment and Design industries together for short, thought-provoking talks with their peers. The for-profit, invitation-only gathering was largely unknown in its early years outside of the small community of innovators who spoke at and attended the annual conference. Twenty-five years later, a very different TED announces TEDx, independently organized local events designed to share recorded TED talks with and capture new inspiration from a global network of community leaders. The brand’s evolution is a case study for what our institutions of higher learning should be doing: leveraging digital strategies and new technologies to create global resonance for content traditionally constrained by bricks and mortar.
I can remember being just out of college, freshly installed in Providence, RI, dropping by Brown University to investigate their MFA program. I had graduated fully decorated, done graduate scholarship work abroad and had no reason to believe my academic record made me anything less than a desirable candidate. I was also living with my husband-to-be, sharing the day to day responsibility of his two-year-old. I was stunned when the woman behind the desk, with no knowledge of me beyond my physical presence - not even a transcript, mind you – announced officiously, as she eyed the baby girl grasping my hand, that there would be no way for me to pursue graduate work part time. I walked away from “formal” education that day because it didn’t fit my life.
The Golden Age of universities may be dead. And while much of the commentary around the online disruption of education ranges from cost-benefit analyses to assessing ideology of what drives MOOCs (massively open online courses), the real question becomes — what is the point of the university in this landscape?
Remember the days when students would come to class armed with only a notebook and a textbook? In some places, that time is long gone, as laptops and iPads make their way into schools. Now a creative technology studio has come up with a platform for classrooms that makes digital textbooks look ancient.
Which professions have the happiest workers? Sexy industries like the movies or lucrative, intellectually challenging businesses like software engineering?
Adult education experts estimate that up to 40% of what tertiary students are learning will be obsolete a decade from now when they will be working in jobs that have yet to be created. Indeed, the top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago. To say that we live in a changing world understates the speed of both the pace and the scope of ongoing change.
Somehow, almost all of these institutions have continued to attract enough students to stay in business year after year. That’s about to change, and one of the key differences in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seemingly unrelated to the schools’ mission: branding.
In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal.
The emergence of online platforms is bringing a wave of disruptive innovations to traditional education. From 40,000 person classes that you can take from anywhere to Twitter-moderated discussion forums with trending hashtags, technology is fundamentally changing the way we learn today.
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion video views, which is 140 views for every person on the planet. Among all the hours of uploads and billions of views, nonprofits, educators, and activists have a strong presence on YouTube. “Nonprofits and activism” and “Education” are among the fastest growing categories on YouTube.
Stanford University might have been the cradle for a hundred Silicon Valley startups and the hothouse for some of its greatest technical innovations, but the Singularity University is an institution that has been made in the valley's own image: highly networked, fuelled by a cocktail of philanthro-capitalism and endowed with an almost mystical sense of its own destiny.
The summer batch of Hacker School will be 40 students, and our goal is to have them accept at least 20 women, with Hacker School retaining full control over the admissions process. In other words, 20 times the number of women in the current batch. What will it take to get there?
When Karen Rice was a little girl, Santa Claus visited multiple times a year. At least it felt that way when Ms. Rice, now a 22-year-old elementary-school teacher in Elizabethtown, Ky., got the books she ordered from the Scholastic Book Club. “I can remember as a kid, it’s kind of like a little Christmas when your books come in,” she said. In a tradition carried out in classrooms countless times during the club’s 60 years, Ms. Rice got a catalog and order forms from her teacher and then went home, selected a few books and returned the forms and money to her teacher. A few weeks later, a box full of books arrived for distribution.
By now, we're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.
The other day, I got an email from a new friend. The subject line read "Are you a TED talk person?" It linked to an 18-minute video of MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely talking about the bugs in our moral codes. Other friends have sent me videos of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert on the spiritual dimension of creativity; rocker David Byrne on how venue architecture affects musical expression; and UC Berkeley professor Robert Full's insights into how geckos' feet stick to a wall. Each of these emails is like a membership card into the club of "TED talk people." I love being a member of this club. The videos give my discovery-seeking brain a little hit of dopamine in the middle of the workday. But just as important, each one I see or recommend makes me part of a group of millions of folks around the world who have checked out these videos. What links us is our desire to learn; TEDsters feel part of a curious, engaged, enlightened, and tech-savvy tribe.
There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path." This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced on Tuesday expanded initiatives to spur entrepreneurship and education. Speaking at the World Congress on IT in Amsterdam, Otellini said the annual Intel Challenge will spread beyond its previous arenas in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America to include France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Intel Challenge is a competition that awards seed money to college students who create the most innovative and effective business plans. The criteria includes creating a positive effect on society and a positive return on investment by tapping into fields such as semiconductors, nanotechnology, mobile and wireless, and life sciences.
What’s a college to do? Building a brand isn’t the only solution, but it certainly must be a key part of any strategy based on attracting students in an increasingly competitive arena. A school that is known for something, whether that something special is academic, geographic, or even extra-curricular, will fare better than schools who have failed to establish their brand.
A federal agency is undertaking an effort to school youngsters in the ways of Madison Avenue. The initiative seeks to educate children in grades four through six — tweens, in the parlance of marketing — about how advertising works so they can make better, more informed choices when they shop or when they ask parents to shop on their behalf.
As smartphones and handheld computers move into classrooms worldwide, we may be witnessing the start of an educational revolution. How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher.
Here are my notes for my talk to the TEDxNYed gathering this past weekend. I used the opportunity of a TED event to question the TED format, especially in relation to education, where — as in media — we must move past the one-way lecture to collaboration. I feared I’d get tomatoes — organic — thrown at me at the first line, but I got laugh and so everything we OK from there. The video won’t be up for a week or two so I’ll share my notes. It’s not word-for-word what I delivered, but it’s close….
Ever since the Big Ten conference added Penn State University in 1990, bringing its membership to 11 schools, the athletic-brand behemoth of the Upper Midwest has been sniffing around for a 12th member to even things out. Now, the Big Ten finally may have found a willing partner in – of all places – Austin, Texas.
Shocked -- again. That's how I felt when I saw in BusinessWeek yet another example of marketing being totally misunderstood. An article titled "At Amazon, Marketing Is for Dummies" said, "Instead of lavish ads and splaying its logo everywhere, it invests in technology and distribution -- and the results are startlingly effective." Last time I checked, product and distribution are two of the essential pillars of marketing. What the article didn't say, but should have, is that Amazon has built its business without much advertising. So? This stands in stark contrast to the dot-bomb when hundreds of companies were created, and CMO became the title du jour. The prevailing "get large or get lost" wisdom drove companies toward publicity stunts, Super Bowl one-offs and multimillion-dollar sweepstakes and away from anything resembling marketing strategy. Brand-building gave way to branding. Marketing became soft, and credibility faded. Here we stand, on the verge of economic recovery, with brands having nowhere to go but up. Marketing should be leading us through growth, but it's not. And we all have a role to play.
The Allstate Foundation is teaming up with Scientific Social Solutions to launch "Crash! The Science of Collisions" program in New York State. The educational program teaches driver safety to high-school students using physics, physical science, biology, and math to reconstruct actual motor vehicle accidents.
It's the hot design company hired by Apple to create its first mouse, (and by Microsoft to create its second), by the Post Office to rework the postbox, by Muji to create its wall-mounted CD player and by Procter & Gamble to reinvent toothpaste tubes. It made the Nokia N-gage, the Palm V and the Head Airflow tennis racquet. Now IDEO is being retained by Barack Obama's White House to help to reinvigorate the American civil service; by the government of Iceland to help the country to innovate its way out of financial crisis; and by the Kellogg Foundation to reinvent education. It might seem bizarre that a company used to designing products is now solving country-sized problems, but it all comes down to the technique it pioneered and preached to its clients. It calls this philosophy "design thinking".
Procter & Gamble announced two multi-year commitments aimed at improving the lives of millions of families worldwide. The first, its new "Future Friendly" program, is an educational initiative that will target millions of U.S. households by Earth Day 2010. The multi-brand program is designed to inspire and educate consumers about making sustainable choices that can have a positive impact on the environment. As part of this pledge, the company will provide conservation education to at least 50 million U.S. households during the year.
Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which "going to college" means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive.
Justin Breton, a 21-year-old senior public relations major at Boston University, spends a lot of time talking about PUR, a water filtration system from Procter & Gamble. Breton is among 100 college "ambassadors" P&G is paying to pitch the company's brands--namely, PUR, TAG deodorant and Herbal Essences hair products--at 50 colleges and universities year-round. Through a program P&G calls ReadyU, these students create their own marketing plans for promoting the company's products to fraternities, sports teams, and extra-curricular groups.
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case. It seems that the initial research and its supporting data is now emerging to help us further analyze whether or not this is indeed true or merely hypotheses based on the various samplings of individuals who may or may not serve as relevant subjects. I do believe that we are becoming an increasingly social society. It could very well be the era of introversion to extroversion.
In the barrage of back-to-school ads, get ready to see a lot for the University of Phoenix. The school heaps more than $100 million a year into measured media alone and is a highly efficient marketing machine that spends more each year than Cheerios or Tide. In a field where most old-line universities spend a few million a year at best, the University of Phoenix is an anomaly for its approach to both education and marketing. It's the country's largest private university, with more than 400,000 students and 230 campus and learning-center locations. Its parent, Apollo Group, posted more than $3.1 billion in revenue during fiscal 2008 (Phoenix represents about 95% of Apollo's net revenue).
Over the years, I’ve actively called for Twitter to contribute to its own culture and direction by leading instead of following. It would effectively serve as a source of inspiration and orientation for consumers and the businesses hoping to connect with them, which would ultimately increase the alarming 40-percent user retention pattern. I suggested that the company actively define user scenarios and offer a quick-start guide for the unique groups of users seeking guidance in order to not only increase user retention, but also accelerate adoption and the evolution of the service. If I had a bit more time, I would have gladly written a series of educational and instructional guides for them to own and publish on their site. But now, with the help of Sarah Milstein, Twitter is on the right track and is showing signs of a company that is ready to once again lead us to new digital and sociological terrain.
Gen Y has higher expectations of the products that it uses and consumes, demanding that brands not only perform to perfection but help make the world a better place at the same time. The rising popularity of cause-based marketing reflects a fundamental shift in the way that Gen Y is changing consumerism.
Starbucks, the coffee company that built its business on word-of-mouth recommendations, is to reveal “a long term, multi-million dollar” advertising campaign in the US, as it seeks to combat perceptions that its products are over-priced. Howard Schultz, chief executive, said the campaign would “define the fact of what's true and what’s not”.
For some young families who bought during the housing boom, having it all meant an affordable brood-sized apartment in possession of a good public school zone. But other parents in pursuit of real estate never even thought about schools. They assumed they would send their children to private school, often because they too had followed that route. That was before the economic crisis.
Frustrated that consumers have been slow to realize it handles more than shipping, the UPS Store created a cardboard world to help it, um, get outside the box.