Business Model Innovation for Higher Education

Can universities keep delivering education in the same way that they have been for past few hundred years?

The reason this topic is coming up frequently these days is that digital technologies are having an increasing impact on the delivery of education. Consequently, Don Tapscott wonders if the university model of delivering education can still work, while Seth Godin thinks that the increasing availability of information could make universities irrelevant. David Parry believes that the way forward is to ensure that universities protect their social value, not their current revenue models.

I’ve been asked to give a short talk on this topic for the upcoming Annual Meeting for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Here it is:

AASCU Talk – Tim Kastelle from Tim Kastelle on Vimeo.

Here are the key points from the talk:

  • The idea of ‘business models for education’ might not seem right to some people, like academics. However, the point of the business model concept is that it outlines how we can deliver value – and higher education clearly delivers value (at least we’d hope so!). Consequently, it makes sense to carefully think through how this value might best be delivered.
  • The best way to counter the threat of becoming an information commodity is to develop a value creation strategy that includes ways to aggregate, filter and connect information. Successful digital business models do all three things. As we think about business model innovation for higher education, we also need to do these three things effectively.
  • If you haven’t seen the Khan Academy yet, you better take a look. People are already working on business models based on aggregating, filtering and connecting. It is easy to discount efforts like this, particularly by hiding behind things like accreditation. However, if people can learn effectively in this format, and use it to build skills that they can profitably apply, it needs to be taken seriously.

Having a state-granted qualification-giving monopoly is not a sustainable strategy. We in higher education have to be thinking about how to best deliver high-value education – that is the only way we will be able to keep doing the jobs that we love.

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “Business Model Innovation for Higher Education

  1. Tim,

    Great post. I started following your work a while back because I specialize in developing and implementing business models that allow entertainment/media concerns to exploit their unique opportunities.

    With regards to this post, I have had the pleasure of being an Adjunct Professor focusing on venture development for the last eight years. I have felt and started to witness over the last few years this growing transformation that both you and Don Tapsoctt highlight. I too find great joy in helping others grasp new concepts and perspectives. I love it when you can see in their eyes that something has clicked. This is why my style has always been more conversational, than a one-way information dump. I’m currently reworking the course and you have given me insights that will be useful in this endeavor.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Donald. Given your background, it’s particularly encouraging that this seems to ring true for you!

    I’d love to hear how reworking your courses works out – I’m in the process of giving mine a major overhaul too…

  3. Buenas…me gustaria tener informaciones sobre el tema Empresas e Innovación de modelo para la Educación Superior
    Estoy realizando un tranajo de investigación sobre La gestión de la innovacion y desarrollo Institucional

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