Disrupting Education at Harvard Business School

by P

I’ll be speaking on a panel at the “Innovation in Higher Education” conference at Harvard Business School. I was asked to comment on the “disruptive innovation” potential of P2PU and the work we do outside of traditional institutions.

Innovation in Higher Education

Wednesday July 6th, 2011
On HBS Campus: Cumnock 230

Disruptive innovation is a framework based on Clayton Christensen’s work on disruptive technologies. It is useful for analysis of surprising changes in seemingly stable industries, and why market leaders are sometimes unable to defend themselves against new entrants. It argues that the incumbents are sometimes seemingly unable to respond to new opportunities because they focus innovation on the needs of their existing customers, and that start-up competitors are well advised to move into areas that are not well served by incumbents yet (often because they are seemingly less attractive).

Christensen recently published Disrupting Class (together with Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson) which applies the framework to education. I find his analysis of the problem and challenge insightful, but don’t agree with the solution suggested in his book. I find the idea of personalized education trajectories that are largely curated and mediated through technology, much less appealing (and less feasible) than an open collaborative ecosystem in which peers learn with each other, constructing their learning trajectories as they go along.

I look forward to discussing these and other ideas with Christensen and Horn at the conference. I am not sure, but assume it’s open to the public so if you are in the area please drop by.