Passion and Value Proposition

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Passion and Value Proposition

In an interview with Steve Denning, innovation author Gary Hamel talks about the role of passion in separating successful companies from also-rans in a fast-moving business cycle.  K-12 education is in the middle of such a cycle, driven by both dramatic changes in connective technologies and global economies that have significantly strained traditional educational goals.

Hamel says that employees need to be passionate about their work if they want to engender passion in our customers.  How do we measure that?  Our business side tells us that we can reduce everything to a measure of ROI or NPV.  But does that really tell us what people are willing to pay for?  What they value?

I have just written an article that will come out in the NBOA Net Assets magazine in May that talks about this issue of value proposition.  It is not a common discussion in most schools, but if we don’t engage in it soon, we risk becoming marginalized with the availability of free education and worldwide connectivity that jumps past our traditional schools.

Education leaders need to be deeply embedded in understanding and empathy for what their customer experience is.  As Hamel states, many leaders are isolated from that level of empathy as they spend their time in the operational weeds: necessary but not visionary during a time when understanding their company’s value proposition will separate it from competition.

Hamel asks the important question: When two values compete, with expediency or a higher ROI on one side, and perceived customer value on the other, which wins?  Does your school put real muscle behind the passion drivers that stimulate creativity and innovation?  Or is this just another box to be checked?

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By | 2012-04-10T17:48:55+00:00 April 10th, 2012|Finance and Operations, Innovation in Education|2 Comments

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  1. Steve Cox April 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Grant, Thanks for the insightful posts. I am really enjoying them. A question for you that isn’t directly related to this post, but more general. A fairly large percentage of our children today don’t have the benefit of an engaged parent and teaching ends the second they leave the classroom. Plus, many of our schools today still do not have computers or internet access in the classroom (something that may get worse, not better with the budgetary concerns in public education today). I doubt 90% of students in these environments have heard of the Kahn Academy let alone have an environment that would push them to explore it. These are key dependencies in a flipped classroom model. I would be interested in your thoughts (perhaps in a future post) on how we apply many of the concepts you have written about so far within the context of those environments because I suspect we would have to approach it very differently.

  2. glichtman April 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm - Reply


    Very appropriate comments and concerns, particularly for those of you involved in the creation and distribution of technology. I think the summary answer (and this glosses over a lot of really important stuff that is hard to work out, I know) is the difference between velocity and direction of an inevitable vector. I gave a talk to 300 future teachers at the Ed College at Silliman University in the Philippines in February. 10 years ago not a single one of them would have owned a cell phone; now 100% have a phone and have internet access every day. In a developing country. Classrooms are going to flip because the vector is inevitable; the rate of change will depend on budgets and will. But mostly what I find is that it depends on overcoming fear of the unknown, even if budgets can be allocated. Will write a full blog on this later. Get your friends at Cisco to follow!

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