From DSC:
Hmmm…how true: “…the digital age rewards change and punishes stasis.” (
source)

Which reminds me of a photo I took just yesterday morning at one of the malls in our area, where a local Sears store is closing.

It made me wonder…if Sears could do it all over again, what would they do differently? If they had a time machine, would they go back in time and work to become the new Amazon.com?

 

 

 

By the way, this picture is for those people who continue to dismiss the need to change and to adapt.  Surveying the relevant landscapes is an increasingly important thing for all of us to do, especially given that we are now on an exponential pace of technological change.

 

 

Companies must be open to radical reinvention to find new, significant, and sustainable sources of revenue. Incremental adjustments or building something new outside of the core business can provide real benefits and, in many cases, are a crucial first step for a digital transformation. But if these initiatives don’t lead to more profound changes to the core business and avoid the real work of rearchitecting how the business makes money, the benefits can be fleeting and too insignificant to avert a steady march to oblivion.

 

 

 



Addendum on 2/10/17

  • Macy’s earnings: Shifts in retail are hurting major players — from marketwatch.com by Tonya Garcia
    Macy’s has assets like real estate and brand identity, but shifts in the sector are putting pressure on earningsExcerpt:
    Even a major player like Macy’s M, +1.51%   isn’t immune to retail’s struggles. The sector is experiencing a dramatic shift to e-commerce and changes in consumer tastes and shopping behavior that have put pressure on department store earnings, and on the industry as a whole. Macy’s has already announced 100 store closures and thousands of job cuts, in addition to a reassessment of its real-estate assets. Now there’s buzz from reports about buyout talks with Hudson’s Bay Co. HBC, parent to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.

 

 

 

From DSC:
The following questions came to my mind today:

  • What are the future ramifications — for higher education — of an exponential population growth curve, especially in regards to providing access?
  • Are our current ways of providing an education going to hold up?
  • What about if the cost of obtaining a degree maintains its current trajectory?
  • What changes do we need to start planning for and/or begin making now?

 

 

 

 

 

Links to sources:

 

 

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change — from economist.com by
It is easy to say that people need to keep learning throughout their careers. The practicalities are daunting.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

Unfortunately, as our special report in this issue sets out, the lifelong learning that exists today mainly benefits high achievers—and is therefore more likely to exacerbate inequality than diminish it. If 21st-century economies are not to create a massive underclass, policymakers urgently need to work out how to help all their citizens learn while they earn. So far, their ambition has fallen pitifully short.

At the same time on-the-job training is shrinking. In America and Britain it has fallen by roughly half in the past two decades. Self-employment is spreading, leaving more people to take responsibility for their own skills. Taking time out later in life to pursue a formal qualification is an option, but it costs money and most colleges are geared towards youngsters.

 

The classic model of education—a burst at the start and top-ups through company training—is breaking down. One reason is the need for new, and constantly updated, skills.

 

 

 

Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative — from economist.com
Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging

Excerpt:

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. “Germany is often lauded for its apprenticeships, but the economy has failed to adapt to the knowledge economy,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. “Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning.”

To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives. This special report will chart some of the efforts being made to connect education and employment in new ways, both by smoothing entry into the labour force and by enabling people to learn new skills throughout their careers. Many of these initiatives are still embryonic, but they offer a glimpse into the future and a guide to the problems raised by lifelong reskilling.

 

 

Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting.

 

 

 

From DSC:
When I turned on the TV the other day, our local news station was playing a piece re: the closing of several stores in Michigan, some within our area. Some of the national retail stores/chains mentioned were:

  • Macy’s
    • Macy’s closing 100 stores, including 4 in Michigan
      Excerpt:
      Four Macy’s stores in Michigan are permanently closing in a series of company cuts expected to cost 6,200 jobs. Macy’s announced 68 of the 100 stores it plans to shutter Wednesday, according to CNBC. On the list is the Macy’s at Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek. CNBC reports the store opened in 1983 and employs 51 associates. Also on the chopping block is the Macy’s in Lansing, Westland and the Eastland Center in Harper Woods. All four Michigan stores are slated to close by the end of 2017.
    • Sears and Kmart closing 150 stores — from money.cnn.com by Paul La Monica
      Sears is shutting down 150 more stores, yet another sign of how tough it is for former kings of the retail industry to compete in a world now dominated by Amazon.
      .
  • Sears
    • Internet is the new anchor: Woodland Mall Sears closing
      Big box and anchor stores a vanishing species in West Michigan
      Excerpt:
      Despite the best economy in a decade and a nearly 4 percent increase in consumer spending this holiday, the kind of retailers that used to be the draws for shopping malls and plazas are feeling the continuing impact of the internet. The most notable recent victim of the trend is the Sears that has served as an anchor store at Woodland Mall for decades. “We hear rumors every week about what’s going on, but we don’t want to hear that — we’re working there, we don’t want to hear that kind of thing. We didn’t think that was going to happen to us. We were doing pretty good,” said 52-year-old Marty Kruizenga, who worked at the Sears Automotive at Woodland Mall. He was told Wednesday morning his store was closing.
      .
  • The Limited
    • The Limited just shut all of its stores — from money.cnn.com by Jackie Wattles
      Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
      American malls just got emptier.
      The Limited, a once-popular women’s clothing brand that offers casual attire and workwear, no longer has any storefronts. On Saturday [1/7/17], a message on the store’s website read, “We’re sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn’t goodbye.” The website will still be up and running and will continue to ship nationwide, the company said.

      The Limited is among a long list of brick-and-mortar retailers that once thrived in malls and strip shopping centers — but are now suffering at the hands of digital commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and fast fashion stores such as H&M and Forever 21.
      .
  • And another chain that I don’t recall…

Here’s a snapshot I took of the television screen at the end of their piece:

 

The warnings were there but people didn’t want to address them:

 

Amazon is taking an increasing share of the US apparel market, according to Morgan Stanley. 

 

 

Also regarding Amazon, see this interesting prediction from Jack Uldrich:

 

 

Below is a quote from a Forbes.com article entitled “Here’s What’s Wrong With Department Stores

Are Department Stores Dead?  Not yet. But they could kill themselves, under the weight of “we’ve always done it this way”. Tweaks in omni-channel strategy aren’t going to be enough to address the fundamental issues at department stores. Not with the way these trends are heading.

 

 

Along the lines of the above items, many of us can remember the Blockbuster stores closing in our areas not that long ago — having been blown out of the water by Netflix.

 

 

Although there are several lines of thought that could be pursued here (one of which might be to discuss the loss of jobs, especially to our students, as many of them work within retail)… some of the key questions that come to my mind are:

  • Could this closing of many brick and mortar-based facilities happen within higher education?
    .
  • With the advent of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, will the innovations that take place on the Internet blow away what’s happening in the face-to-face (F2F) classrooms? As Thomas Frey asserts, by 2030, will the largest company on the internet be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet?
    (NOTE: “Frey doesn’t go so far as to argue education bots will replace traditional schooling outright. He sees them more as a supplement, perhaps as a kind of tutor.”)

    .
  • Or, because people enjoy learning together in a F2F environment, will F2F classrooms augment what they are doing with what’s available online/digitally?
    .
  • Will the discussion not revolve around online vs F2F, but rather will the topic at hand be more focused on how innovative/responsive one’s institution is?

 


Also relevant/see:

Attention University Presidents: A Press Release From the Near Future — from futurist Jack Uldrich
(Emphasis added below by DSC)

(Editor’s Note: Change is difficult. This is especially true in organizations that have heretofore been immune to the broader forces of disruption–such as institutions of higher learning. To shake presidents, administrators, and faculty out of their stupor I have drafted the following fictional press release. I encourage all university and college presidents and their boards to read it and then discuss how they can–and must–adapt in order to remain competitive in the future.)

PRESS RELEASE (Fictional Scenario: For Internal Discussion Only)

(Note: All links in the press release highlight real advances in the field of higher education).

State College to Close at End of 2021-2022 Academic Year
Washington, DC – December 16, 2021 — State College, one of the country’s leading public universities, has decided to cease academic operations at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

rest of fictional press release here –>

 


 

Last comment from DSC:
I don’t post this to be a fear monger. Rather,  I post it to have those of us working with higher education take some time to reflect on this situation — because we need to be far more responsive to change than we are being. Given the increasingly rapid pace of change occurring in our world today, people will have to continue to reinvent themselves. But the difference in the near future will be in the number of times people have to reinvent themselves and how quickly they need to do it. They won’t be able to take 2-4 years off to do it.

Let’s not get blown out of the water by some alternative. Let’s respond while we still have the chance. Let’s be in touch with the changing landscapes and needs out there.

 


 

Addendums:

Colleges need to adapt to meet the changing demographics and needs of students, rather than expect them to conform to a tradition-loving system.

“Unless we become more nimble in our approach and more scalable in our solutions, we will miss out on an opportunity to embrace and serve the majority of students who will need higher education and postsecondary learning,” says the report. Later it underscores that “higher education has never mattered so much to those who seek it. It drives social mobility, energizes our economy, and underpins our democracy.”

 

 

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

 

 

 
Amazon is going to kill more American jobs than China did — from marketwatch.com
Millions of retail jobs are threatened as Amazon’s share of online purchases keeps climbing

 

 

 

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with AI, NLP, and blockchain-based technologies! [Christian]

From DSC:

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain-based technologies!

When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder what (we currently know of as) “TVs” will morph into and what functionalities they will be able to provide to us in the not-too-distant future…?

For example, the article mentions that Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will be offering TVs that can not only access Alexa — a personal assistant from Amazon which uses artificial intelligence — but will also be able to provide access to over 7,000 apps and games via the Amazon Fire TV Store.

Some of the questions that come to my mind:

  • Why can’t there be more educationally-related games and apps available on this type of platform?
  • Why can’t the results of the assessments taken on these apps get fed into cloud-based learner profiles that capture one’s lifelong learning? (#blockchain)
  • When will potential employers start asking for access to such web-based learner profiles?
  • Will tvOS and similar operating systems expand to provide blockchain-based technologies as well as the types of functionality we get from our current set of CMSs/LMSs?
  • Will this type of setup become a major outlet for competency-based education as well as for corporate training-related programs?
  • Will augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) capabilities come with our near future “TVs”?
  • Will virtual tutoring be one of the available apps/channels?
  • Will the microphone and the wide angle, HD camera on the “TV” be able to be disconnected from the Internet for security reasons? (i.e., to be sure no hacker is eavesdropping in on their private lives)

 

Forget a streaming stick: These 4K TVs come with Amazon Fire TV inside — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

Excerpt:

The TVs will not only have access to Alexa via a microphone-equipped remote but, more importantly, will have access to the over 7,000 apps and games available on the Amazon Fire TV Store – a huge boon considering that most of these Smart TVs usually include, at max, a few dozen apps.

 

 

 

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


Addendums


 

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

.

  • Once thought to be a fad, MOOCs showed staying power in 2016 — from educationdive.com
    Dive Brief:

    • EdSurge profiles the growth of massive online open courses in 2016, which attracted more than 58 million students in over 700 colleges and universities last year.
    • The top three MOOC providers — Coursera, Udacity and EdX — collectively grossed more than $100 million last year, as much of the content provided on these platforms shifted from free to paywall guarded materials.
    • Many MOOCs have moved to offering credentialing programs or nanodegree offerings to increase their value in industrial marketplaces.
 

The freelance economy: Top trends to watch in 2017 — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the U.S. workforce and the trend is only picking up speed with more professionals opting to create their own jobs in lieu of more traditional full-time employment.

As we head into the new year, we want to shed a bit more light on this burgeoning sector of the workforce. What kind of location, industry and demographic trends are surfacing among the freelance professionals of 2016? You might not know, for example, that a whopping 40% of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. Or that more senior men are most likely to take the leap into freelancing.

The time is ripe to be a freelancer in America so we’re revealing insider insights like these to help you learn more about this trending profession. Check out the report below – gleaned from a survey of more than 9,500 of our ProFinder professionals – to see what we discovered.

 

From DSC:
Besides the workforce moving towards the increased use of freelancers, the pace of change has moved from being more linear in nature to more of an exponential trajectory.

 

 

 

Some important questions, therefore, to ask are: 

  • Are our students ready to enter this type of workplace? 
  • Can they pivot quickly?
  • Do they know how to learn and are they ready to be lifelong learners? (Do they like learning enough to continue to pursue it? Peoples’ overall quality of life would be much higher if they enjoyed learning, rather than be forced to do so in order to keep the bread and butter on their tables.)
  • Are they able to communicate in a variety of ways?
  • How are their customer service skills coming along?
  • How are their problem-solving skills coming along?
  • Do they know how to maintain their businesses’ books and do their taxes?
  • Are they digitally literate and do they have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of technology?

I sure hope so…but I have my serious doubts. That said, many institutions/organizations representing K-12 and higher education are not doing a great job of innovating either. Though there certainly exists some strong pockets of innovation in some of our institutions out there — and the ability to pivot — taken as a whole, our institutions and organizations haven’t been as responsive, nimble, and innovative as our students need them to be.

After all, we are trying to prepare students for their futures (with the externality effect being that we, too, will also be better prepared for that future).

 

 

 

From DSC:
The other day I had posted some ideas in regards to how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality are coming together to offer some wonderful new possibilities for learning (see: “From DSC: Amazing possibilities coming together w/ augmented reality used in conjunction w/ machine learning! For example, consider these ideas.”) Here is one of the graphics from that posting:

 

horticulturalapp-danielchristian

These affordances are just now starting to be uncovered as machines are increasingly able to ascertain patterns, things, objects…even people (which calls for a separate posting at some point).

But mainly, for today, I wanted to highlight an excellent comment/reply from Nikos Andriotis @ Talent LMS who gave me permission to highlight his solid reflections and ideas:

 

nikosandriotisidea-oct2016

 

 

From DSC:
Excellent reflection/idea Nikos — that would represent some serious personalized, customized learning!

Nikos’ innovative reflections also made me think about his ideas in light of their interaction or impact with web-based learner profiles, credentialing, badging, and lifelong learning.  What’s especially noteworthy here is that the innovations (that impact learning) continue to occur mainly in the online and blended learning spaces.

How might the ramifications of these innovations impact institutions who are pretty much doing face-to-face only (in terms of their course delivery mechanisms and pedagogies)?

Given:

  • That Microsoft purchased LinkedIn and can amass a database of skills and open jobs (playing a cloud-based matchmaker)
  • Everyday microlearning is key to staying relevant (RSS feeds and tapping into “streams of content” are important here, and so is the use of Twitter)
  • 65% of today’s students will be doing jobs that don’t even exist yet (per Microsoft & The Future Laboratory in 2016)

 

futureproofyourself-msfuturelab-2016

  • The exponential pace of technological change
  • The increasing level of experimentation with blockchain (credentialing)
  • …and more

…what do the futures look like for those colleges and universities that operate only in the face-to-face space and who are not innovating enough?

 

 

 

If you doubt that we are on an exponential pace of change, you need to check these articles out! [Christian]

exponentialpaceofchange-danielchristiansep2016

 

From DSC:
The articles listed in
this PDF document demonstrate the exponential pace of technological change that many nations across the globe are currently experiencing and will likely be experiencing for the foreseeable future. As we are no longer on a linear trajectory, we need to consider what this new trajectory means for how we:

  • Educate and prepare our youth in K-12
  • Educate and prepare our young men and women studying within higher education
  • Restructure/re-envision our corporate training/L&D departments
  • Equip our freelancers and others to find work
  • Help people in the workforce remain relevant/marketable/properly skilled
  • Encourage and better enable lifelong learning
  • Attempt to keep up w/ this pace of change — legally, ethically, morally, and psychologically

 

PDF file here

 

One thought that comes to mind…when we’re moving this fast, we need to be looking upwards and outwards into the horizons — constantly pulse-checking the landscapes. We can’t be looking down or be so buried in our current positions/tasks that we aren’t noticing the changes that are happening around us.

 

 

 

Tech breakthroughs megatrend— from pwc.com by Vicki Huff Eckert, Sahil Bhardwaj, and Chris Curran; with thanks to Woontack Woo for this resource 

Excerpt:

Given the sheer pace and acceleration of technological advances in recent years, business leaders can be forgiven for feeling dazed and perhaps a little frustrated. When we talked to CEOs as part of our annual Global CEO Survey, 61% of them told us they were concerned about the speed of technological change in their industries. Sure, more and more C-suite executives are genuinely tech-savvy – increasingly effective champions for their companies’ IT vision – and more and more of them know that digital disruption can be friend as well as enemy. But it’s fair to say that most struggle to find the time and energy necessary to keep up with the technologies driving transformation across every industry and in every part of the world.

Not one catalyst, but several
History is littered with companies that have waited out the Next New Thing in the belief that it’s a technology trend that won’t amount to much, or that won’t affect their industries for decades. Yet disruption happens. It’s safe to say that the history of humankind is a history of disruption – a stream of innovations that have tipped the balance in favour of the innovators. In that sense, technological breakthroughs are the original megatrend. What’s unique in the 21st century, though, is the ubiquity of technology, together with its accessibility, reach, depth, and impact.

Business leaders worldwide acknowledge these changes, and have a clear sense of their significance. CEOs don’t single out any particular catalyst that leads them to that conclusion. But we maintain that technological advancements are appearing, rapidly and simultaneously, in fields as disparate as healthcare and industrial manufacturing, because of the following concurrent factors…

 

pwc-global-megatrends-july2016

 

From DSC:
For those of us working in K-20 as well as in the corporate training/L&D space, how are we doing in getting people trained and ready to deal these developments?

 

 

 

 

Two things happened today that got me to reflect on the word resilience:

  1. An all-campus conference with faculty and staff, whereby one of the breakout sessions was about supporting emotional resilience in our students. It was led by the head of the campus’ counseling center. She gave some data on the increased use of the counseling center over the last 4 years. Evidently, this isn’t just happening at our campus, but all over the country.
    .
  2. Then I ran into the article below; some excerpts are listed below as well.

When I’m teaching a First Year Seminar course this fall, one of the topics deals with resilience. When I’m addressing it, I want to focus on the parts highlighted in green below, and stay clear of the caution noted in red below.

An additional thought on this is that today’s students are dealing with the high prices of obtaining a college degree. This means that many of them have to work to get through school. Otherwise, many of these students will come out of school with enormous debts — debts that don’t go away until they are paid up. I’m not saying that by them working the students can pay all of their expenses — that’s becoming highly unlikely these days. But it can reduce the amounts of their debts.  These debts affects when students get married, when they can buy a home, when and how much they can save for retirement, and more. So the stresses are very realand different from many of us from a different generation. We can’t just say they need to be more resilient as an entire generation.

No, the job for us working within higher ed needs to be to bring the price of obtaining a degree down. Not just “no more increases.”  No. Bring the costs down! 

We can’t expect to have an arms race in the facilities that we offer as well as in our sports programs (and though I was an athlete in college I still say this) and expect costs to go down. Technology looks to me to be our best chance of bringing costs down, while maintaining quality. I don’t have the time to expand on that perspective now, but the greater use of online learning as well as the increased use of emerging technologies that can deliver more personalized learning should help.

 

 

Struggling students are not ‘lacking resilience’ – they need more support — from theguardian.com by Gabbi Binnie

Some excerpts:

Students often see the word as a synonym for strength, and therefore feel that lacking resilience is a sign of weakness. A professor could be saying “be more resilient” and mean that a student shouldn’t take critical comments on their work personally. But what a student hears is something like, you aren’t strong enough, or you need to man-up, or you lack backbone.

Times have changed
Problems are often discussed with an “it was different back in my day” attitude. So if students are accessing university counselling services more, it’s because the entire student population is losing its resilience. If disability services are overstretched, the same reason is given. And when tutors are asked to provide pastoral support – historically always a part of the personal tutor role – they feel it’s because these “modern students” need extra help.

Students might be asking for help earlier and for problems that they once might have kept to themselves. But to dismiss an entire generation isn’t fair.

Students are coping with all sorts of factors that make their lives a challenge: the worry about tuition fee debt, an intensely competitive graduate jobs market and the pressure of social media. By recognising this, university staff can start to support their students to become more resilient.

Resilience is a great concept. Learning not to be discouraged by past failings and recognising shortcomings is an extremely useful skill. Students need to be equipped to spring back from tough situations, or times when they didn’t achieve perfection – this is vitally important in universities.

As support staff we need to enable students to learn the skills of resilience. We need to standardise what we mean by it. And we should never use the term when discussing mental health.

 

 

 
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