Reinventing management for a networked world

Educause 10: Opening keynote – Gary Hamel, LBS

My notes from the opening keynote with some of my views in [] – will blog some more thoughts later.

Online education will not be inferior to f2f education in the future, as traditionally students don’t get much face time with their professors at the moment. [Yes, online education is not inferior, just difference. Not convinced about argument about time with professors]

What about “outsourcing” education – why do we design all our own courses? What about getting “professionals” – could be academics –  to do it at scale. Couldn’t this be much more efficient? [er I can see some problems with this! Is this Willets’ “dream” of a national curriculum for HE? What about HE has creativity and engagement not a degree factory]

Web

  • dematerialises – undermines the value of physical infrastructure
  • disintegrates –splinters organisations, markets and products
  • disintermediates – it dislocates activities or renders them obsolete
  • democratizes – it gives everyone the chance to create value, production will be distributed

People want to contribute without being paid (open source idea).

Need to harness power of co production.

Top coder model – http://www.topcoder.com/ – of development for course production- top code create code via crowd sourcing

Insurgents who are succeeding eg google, amazon not incumbents Microsoft, walmart.  Organisations have to change faster and more deeply

Institutions only tackle deep questions after going through a crisis which is sad [notion of deep change –  is this sad? Not convinced perhaps you need that it doesn’t have to be sad.]

Lots of change happens at the margins where you don t challenge fundamental models. All stories of transformational change happen after an organisation has undergone a crisis  and a change of senior management. Problem is that organisations don’t enable change from bottom up. Strategic thinking cannot and should not be left to senior management alone.

How change this?

  • need to get beyond denial. Stop living in the past. Our organisations built around a central architecture, unlike the web. Don’t miss the future because it is unpredictable but because it is unpalatable this we resist it
  • every belief has to be treated as a hypothesis
  • seek out the dissidents and critics
  • spend time at the bleeding edge
  • try to imagine the unimaginable. Businesses assume that technology with supplement not supplant their business model
  • leadership teams need real life experience. Got to create options for renewal

Faculty are not owned assets, they are doing work elsewhere.

Should be experimenting more, what about crowd sourcing strategy?

Re-align talent and capital

Enlarging our sense of mission-don’t think what we are doing now is good enough. Often sacrificed sense of mission for complacency in HE [ouch!]

2 Replies to “Reinventing management for a networked world”

  1. Part of my doesn’t know why I’m replying to this… I don’t think anything I say here will change the world, and if anyone does read it, they’re likely to already agree with me. But … well, this annoyed me.

    Firstly, “Online education will not be inferior to f2f education in the future”. Ignoring the problems of specifying either of the terms being composed, the mass on literature on the no significant difference phenomenon suggests it hasn’t been up until now either. (But I don’t think that either can be talked about sensibly in the aggregate, myself. Too blunt.)

    “What about “outsourcing” education – why do we design all our own courses? What about getting “professionals” – could be academics – to do it at scale. Couldn’t this be much more efficient?”

    …here we go again. There’s a fundamental failure to understand that the kinds of knowledge taught in Higher Education are contested, particularly at advanced levels, and perhaps more so in some disciplines than others. In stable areas, we already have outsourced design – it’s called “textbooks”. In other areas, the emphasis tends to be more on taking a position in relation to existing resources, not just reusing them. In other words, we have probably done this already, where it’s appropriate to do so. Creating resources doesn’t create people who can just (or should just) use them unquestioningly. “Efficiency” is being used here to justify cutting all the stuff out that makes Higher Education worth doing in the first place, because that’s hard/expensive.

    “Web dematerialises – undermines the value of physical infrastructure
    disintegrates –splinters organisations, markets and products
    disintermediates – it dislocates activities or renders them obsolete
    democratizes – it gives everyone the chance to create value, production will be distributed”

    No it doesn’t.
    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/686019820-18595145/content~db=all~content=a713768493~frm=abslink

    As to democracy, anyone see Alex Krotoski’s “Virtual Revolution” series? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n4j0r) – nice bit on there about how the ideal of web democracy has been neatly sidelined by controlling corporations.

    “People want to contribute without being paid (open source idea).”

    …yes, to some things. But not every task has volunteers (or we wouldn’t need wages) and not every contribution is worth having.

    “Need to harness power of co production.” – yup.

    “Institutions only tackle deep questions after going through a crisis which is sad [notion of deep change – is this sad? Not convinced perhaps you need that it doesn’t have to be sad.]” – agree with you fully here, SQ.

    “Lots of change happens at the margins where you don t challenge fundamental models.” Yes. That’s how we avoid insanity. More marginal change could be learnt from, but we do have to balance this with people just coping with life.

    “need to get beyond denial. Stop living in the past. Our organisations built around a central architecture, unlike the web.”

    That’s such junk. We do have centralised control – more than we used to, I think – but an organisation is the people who are in it. It’s not that decentralised activity doesn’t happen, it’s that it isn’t noticed.

    And anyone who thinks the web hasn’t centralised is ignoring the influence of Google, Amazon, Facebook and the other power players. Look at schematics and visualisations of web use and them try and say it’s a flat structure.

    “every belief has to be treated as a hypothesis
    seek out the dissidents and critics
    spend time at the bleeding edge
    try to imagine the unimaginable.”

    Lovely phrases; but after the rest, I have trouble knowing what substance there is behind them.

    “Enlarging our sense of mission-don’t think what we are doing now is good enough. Often sacrificed sense of mission for complacency in HE [ouch!]”

    Yeah, none of us has to worry what the future holds, thanks to the fat hand outs we get from government and the complete lack of scrutiny from ourselves, our institutions, the QAA, the student body, the press…

    Enough.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Martin – I agree! And actually even though this might not change anything it was really good to read your comments as it didn’t make me feel quite so isolated in my views. No-one that tweeted on this, with the conference tag at least, really questioned any of this. Is it a cultural thing? Maybe, I’m not sure.

    I also felt that in trying to be provocative and encourage us to think differently, the keynote missed the underpinning philosophy of higher education and the value of a university degree. I am not denying that we need to do things differently and change but feel that university’s are quite embattled at the moment and that we have lost the plot. I don’t think in the Uk the sector has created a coherent enough argument on its value, sadly, but that is not to say we should all turn into amazonU!

    What happens this week will mean that we will be forced to change but what worries me about this is that it will be a knee-jerk response and I hope we can try to change in a more thoughtful and longer lasting fashion.

    Thanks for commenting – I enjoyed it 🙂

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