The IT conversation we should be having — from by Jim Stikeleather

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It is a conversation about the increasing importance of information technology and the role it must assume in every enterprise, regardless of size, industry or geography.

Our observations:

  • CEOs are demanding more visible value from their CIOs, in terms of generating revenue, gaining new customers, and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Increasingly, the CIO and IT must be seen less as developing and deploying technology, and more as a source of innovation and transformation that delivers business value, leveraging technology instead of directly delivering it.
  • The CIO must be responsible and accountable if technology enables, facilitates or accelerates competition that the C-suite didn’t see coming, or allows the enterprise to miss opportunities because the C-suite did not understand the possibilities technology offered.
  • CIOs today must adapt or risk being marginalized.


From DSC:
This is critical in the higher ed space as well!

The majority of the higher education industry still isn’t getting it — we are operating in a brand new ball game where technology must be used strategically It’s not just about building and maintaining the infrastructure/plumbing anymore (though that is extremely important as well). It’s about the strategic, innovative use of IT that counts from here on out.



A new seat in the C-Suite: Chief Digital Officers find a place on college campuses — from by Amy Burroughs
CDOs do more than help colleges adapt to online learning.


Mathison is studying the emerging role of CDOs and says their functions vary, depending on how much an organization has shifted in its digital evolution. In broad terms, CDOs increase revenue through digital products, decrease costs through digital fulfillment, improve customer service and improve the return on mobile and online investments. They also help organizations respond to disruptors, or innovations with game-changing potential. To many in academia, that means massive open online courses (MOOCs).

“There weren’t many [CDOs] around five years ago, and in academia it’s really been in the last year or two, with the MOOCs that have really spooked everyone,” Mathison said.

While many universities have a director of online education or a VP of e-learning, very few schools have hired a CDO. In addition to Sreenivasan, there is Perry Hewitt at Harvard University. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had a CDO, Brent Turner, who says that as of January he has pulled back to focus his work on the MIT Technology Review.

Crowdsourcing innovation on campus — from by Dian Schaffhauser
By combining innovation management with crowdsourcing, Davenport University has found a potent formula for achieving continual improvement and encouraging organizational change.





From DSC:

  • The Walmart of Education continues and higher ed finds itself in a game-changing environment
  • The pace of change continues to accelerate
  • Disruptive innovations continue to poke at the higher education bubble
  • There is danger in the status quo
  • We all need to constantly reinvent ourselves and our organizations in order to remain relevant…

…institutions of higher education would be wise to significantly increase the priority of experimentation on their campuses during 2013.  This might take the form of creating smaller, more nimble organizations within their overall universities or colleges, or it might be experimenting with new business models, or it might be identifying/experimenting with promising educational technologies or new pedagogies, etc.  I will have several blog postings re: experimentation — and potential things to try out — during 2013; so stay tuned.

Whether we are staff, faculty, or administration, change is coming our way in 2013.  So starting today, get involved with further innovations and experiments on your campus — don’t be a roadblock or you will likely find your institution eventually becoming irrelevant. As Steve Jobs did/believed, cannibalize your own organization before someone else does.


The pace has changed significantly and quickly


2013 media technology trends — from by Richard McLeland Wieser


Since the turn of the Millemium we’ve been hearing about the AV/IT convergence.  It started slowly, gaining speed.  Now it is roaring down the track like a 110 car freight train.  In 2013 most of the equipment that audiovisual and video production professionals use is digital, networkable and software controlled.  If your Boss is not the CIO, he may be by January 1, 2014.

Media Manager, Videographer, AV Technician, whatever your title, I believe you will find this information helpful.

From DSC:
As Richard mentions in his blog, the convergence of AV and IT continues to occur.  In fact, just recently, our AV Department joined our IT Department.  I look forward to even closer collaboration with the experts from that group.

Tagged with:  

From DSC:
Mr. Rob Bobeldyk and I were brainstorming last week about the
need to create A Center for Innovation — a smaller organization within our overall organization — that can be far more nimble and responsive.  Such a Center could be:

  • Constantly pulse-checking the relevant landscapes (technological, pedagogical, business models, other)
  • Researching potential approaches
  • Experimenting
  • Innovating
  • Failing
  • Succeeding some of the time — and handing off/transitioning the projects that gain traction to others in the larger organization (which may require building some new groups and/or departments at that point)

As I discovered HBR’s interview with John Kotter today, I felt our idea/direction/brainstorming is heading in the right direction!


A revolutionary approach to strategic change -- John Kotter -- November 2012


That is, we are trying to keep the plane in flight while making some significant changes. Put another way, we are trying to keep the bread and butter in tact while experimenting with new business models and/or new products and services.

Kotter’s “Dual Operating System” affirms that a new/smaller/more nimble organization is appropriate.  Here are some graphics of Kotter’s “dual operating system”:





The work of Christensen, Horn, and Johnson is highly-relevant here as well:

  • Disrupting Class
  • Disrupting College
  • The Innovator’s Dilemna


Addendums on 11/20/12:



The financially sustainable university — from, a Bain Brief by Jeff Denneen and Tom Dretle

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Still, at the majority of institutions, the pace of change is slower than it needs to be. Plenty of hurdles exist, including the belief that things will return to the way they always were. (Note: They won’t.) But the biggest obstacle is more fundamental: While leaders might have a sense of what needs to be done, they may not know how to achieve the required degree of change that will allow their institution not just to survive, but also thrive with a focused strategy and a sustainable financial base.

Too often, stakeholders believe that the current cash crunch and need for change is a temporary phenomenon that will subside as the economy continues to improve. But those who see things this way probably haven’t been exposed to the data presented here and in other reports that show convincingly that this time is different. Faculty and other key stakeholders must be shown clear and compelling facts to disprove the “return to the status quo” notion and to clarify the corresponding negative implications and consequences of inaction.


The Financially Sustainable University - July 2012 - a Bain Brief by Denneen & Dretle

Barriers to adoption of online learning systems in U.S. Higher Education - May 1, 2012


Excerpt from the preface:

Digital technology has already changed the way colleges and universities function, but no matter how significant those changes feel today, real transformation is just beginning. Every day, a new program in online learning is announced, and on the horizon is the promise of using new adaptive learning technologies —or what we have come to call Interactive Learning Online—to educate more students than ever before at lower cost and with similar or even better learning outcomes.

This Ithaka S+R report is the first in a series that will provide leaders in higher education insight into what has been learned from online learning efforts to date and new research to help them move forward with the development and deployment of more advanced systems in the future.

Many of the lessons in this report can readily be applied locally; that is, they will help leaders make sound decisions for their own institutions. We have also identified two critical issues that if addressed at a system-level, will lead to better outcomes for all: the need for open, shared data on student learning and performance tracked through interactive online learning systems, and the need for investment in the creation of sustainable and customizable platforms for delivering interactive online learning instruction. We hope this report will help to stimulate discussion and planning among leaders on these important topics.


Also see:

  • Tempering the Rise of the Machines— from by Steve Kolowich
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
    The report, called “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education,” was co-written by Lawrence S. Bacow and William G. Bowen, the former presidents of Tufts and Princeton Universities, respectively, along with several Ithaka analysts. It was bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The report contained little advocacy one way or another; rather, the authors appeared to strive for a dispassionate analysis driven by a general sense that the rise of machine learning is inevitable and universities should be prepared. Their findings were based on interviews with senior administrators at 25 public and private, four-year and two-year colleges, including “deep dive” analyses at five of them.

From DSC: First, some articles that caused these reflections

Discounting heads — from by Kevin Kiley


Despite spending nearly 43 percent of their gross tuition revenue from first-time, full-time freshmen on institutional aid for those students, many private colleges and universities had a harder time enrolling students last year, with almost half seeing no growth or a decline in enrollment for 2011, according to survey results released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

From DSC:
It seems to me that it’s highly-possible that the higher ed bubble has started to pop — at least at private colleges and universities. So why doesn’t change occur? See the next article for several reasons.

Failure to change — from by Robert J. Sternberg


Universities teach about the importance of societal and organizational change, but often have trouble changing themselves in any but the most superficial ways. As a psychology professor interested in both individual and organizational modifiability, I have studied organizations, including universities, and why it is so difficult for them to change. Meaningful organizational change requires five elements, and unless all five of them are present, the organization — whether a department, school, college, or university — remains static.

Change is not always for the better, of course. But a college or university that is static will inevitably fall behind more dynamic, positively changing institutions. And like any institution that fails to compete, it is on the path to stagnation or death. A dynamic institution will change and, if the change proves to be in the wrong direction, will redirect itself until it finds a sustainable path.

From DSC:
As a relevant aside, it’s not just the “younger folk” who are struggling with student loans either:

Student loans saddle both kinds of seniors: graduates and grandparents — from the Washington Post by Michelle Singletary


Using data from Equifax credit reports, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that people 50 and older are carrying nearly $135 billion in student-loan debt. Those 60 or older have student-loan balances of more than $36 billion.


It’s these types of dynamics and trends that are catalysts for what I call:

“Learning from the Living Room”
Though 2-5 years away, signs point to it coming to fruition
(my prediction is that this movement will really gain traction when Apple’s Connected/Smart TV hits the market and as more people get fed up with the current, unresponsive accredidation monopolies within higher ed). Some example/recent articles:

  • The Evolution of the Digital Living Room — from by Chuck Parker

    Apple with its iPad, Apple TV and iCloud for movies and TV shows has delivered a seamless ecosystem to the consumer’s digital living room for owning and watching content from multiple devices in the home. The rest of the industry (SmartTVs, connected devices, Android tablets) struggles to create a similar experience when they are a single-brand ecosystem and fail miserably when there are devices from multiple manufacturers in the household.
  • Google and Microsoft’s new battleground: Your living room — from ComputerWorld by Preston Gralla
    The upshot will have surprising implications for IT
  • Why the future of Shazam is TV, not music — from by Richard MacManus

    Shazam is in the midst of a major pivot. Currently it earns most of its revenue off advertising from the music app. But within two years, the company told ReadWriteWeb, TV will provide the majority of Shazam’s revenue. Just how big an opportunity is TV for Shazam? According to statistics from the company, it is already outpacing both Facebook and Twitter in second screen user engagement.

“The Forthcoming Walmart of Education” …which is already happening, but far more significant changes will come in the next 1-5 years as people look for more affordable alternatives. A graphic I created back in 2008 states what I see developing and will be a piece of the higher ed landscape in the future:


Besides the items mentioned above (i.e. changes in price and delivery mechanisms),
what might some of these innovations look like? Here are some ideas/articles/examples:

  • Be more responsive to real-world/market needs
    12 college majors we hope to see soon
    — from
    While some college majors have been around for decades or even centuries, others are relatively new and some are still waiting on the horizon to be added to college programs around the world as new technologies and demands shape the needs of modern students. While a host of degree programs have been added over the past 10 or 20 years, many related to computers and other forms of technology, many more will be needed in the future to keep up with a world that is rapidly changing.
  • Introduce more innovations and be willing to experiment with different models
    Examples besides MITx, Udemy, U of People, iTunes U, YouTube Edu, etc.:
    ANGELS, a new European research project, a gateway to the future.

    ANGELS project (Augmented Reality Network Generating Learning on Safety), is the training system that will revolutionize education and learning on safety and health at work, particularly in the hospital facilities. This tool aims at innovating in terms of training on health and safety at work with the use of augmented reality (computer system that can superimpose 3D image on a real image to combine real and virtual). ANGELS introduces 4 key innovations: A practice adapted to an innovative new technology, a realistic assessment in tune with the XXIst century in the area of education and training, a large field of application in the health care facilities and the creation of a starter kit for public and private organizations, training centers and academic centers.
  • …and bring the prices WAAAY down!!!




Blackboard launches solution to improve developmental education
Fully online courses now include built-in assessment, analytics tools


WASHINGTON – February 22, 2012 – Blackboard Inc. today announced the official launch of Blackboard Developmental Education™ (Blackboard DevEd), an innovative approach aimed at improving student outcomes and increasing completion rates in an area where many institutions have struggled. The solution, which was first piloted by several institutions in the fall, now includes built-in assessment and analytics tools that enable course instructors to further personalize their instruction.


Blackboard Developmental EducationTM (Blackboard DevEd) is a comprehensive program of blended instruction and online remedial courses designed to improve student achievement levels cost-effectively.

Early reflections from DSC:

  • First of all, my congratulations go out to Blackboard for innovating! Nice work.
  • This is another example of the innovation occurring in the online/digital learning world — yet more tools and diagnostic powers are being made available to online-based teaching and learning environments
  • This should be another shot across the bow of how institutions of higher education are training our future teachers — student teachers NEED to know how to teach online!!!
  • Too early to tell how such endeavors will affect career paths (for teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, and such)


Also see:

From DSC:
Reflecting on Survival Factor [from Inside Higher Ed by Kaustuv Basu]:

Let researchers research, and teachers teach — but not both.  Teaching is an art as well as a science — and learning is messy.  It takes a long time and a great deal of effort to become an effective professor (and more “hats” are being required all the time).  On the flip side, there are skills required in research that may not be related to knowing how to be an effective professor.

The problem is — at least in many cases — that students are not served when researchers try to teach as well as do their research.  These researchers  were most likely recruited because of their ability to research — not due to their ability to teach.  I realize that there could be a subset that can do both teaching and researching.  But my experience at Northwestern was that the good researchers were not the effective teachers…and I’ll bet that’s still the case today.  Why?  Because there simply isn’t enough time and energy for most people to perform both roles well.

With the price of an education continuing to increase, is this a system we want to continue?  Are these researchers trying to improve their teaching?  Are they rewarded for their teaching efforts and growth?  If not, are the students being served here? In any other industry, would this type of situation continue to exist?

As we move towards a more team-based approach to creating and delivering education, we may want to seriously consider breaking up the roles of researcher and professor — and doing so for good. 

From DSC:
Whether you’re talking the corporate world or the world of higher education…in this fast-paced and increasingly technology-driven world, the role that technology plays in our organizations’ strategic plans needs to escalate.  That is, if our organizations want to survive, we cannot view IT as a cost center. 

Instead, we need to wake up and realize the world in which we are living in.  As such, our IT groups should be playing key roles in determining new business models and helping our organizations identify new sources of income.  IT is not just about infrastructure and plumbing anymore (although that’s important as well).  IT should be about becoming thee key leading group on campus or in your company.  No joke.

If you doubt that or don’t think your IT group has it in them, than you need to identify which other group/dept is developing the strategic plans on how to ride the enormous waves of change being caused by the Internet, shifting consumer expectations, changing methods of tech-enabled communications, and the massive convergence of the TV, telephone, computer (as well as other forces). 

A poster in our shop asserts that you can either ride the waves of change or be crushed by them.  Along those lines, my father-in-law wisely reminds me that it’s much easier to ride on the front side of a wave than trying to play catch up on the backside of the wave.

Excerpt from Succeeding in the New Normal (from by Dian Schaffhauser)

As IT administrators struggle to come to terms with the new normal, one truth is becoming clear: CIOs need to change the conversation about IT on campus. First, instead of driving their beleaguered IT staffs ever harder while service levels drop, they need to reset campus expectations about what IT can realistically achieve. Second, CIOs must rebrand their own organization. They need to start taking credit for how IT saves their institutions money. In the eyes of the university, IT has to go from cost center to efficiency expert.

“Technology people are inherently working to make things more efficient,” Carter points out. “But they do a lousy job of publicizing their results. They do a lousy job of measuring them. As we get more and more into things like performance funding, accreditation, and accountability, what you’re going to find is that IT leaders are going to have figure out a way to justify their existence, or they’re going to end up out of a job.”

From DSC:
I would argue that if IT leaders (at least those leaders who are effective in developing their organization’s strategy and who see the role of IT as different from its past roles) are going to end up out of a job, then the entire organization will end up out of jobs.  No kidding.  The world is changing rapidly, and people can no longer afford to view IT as simply a cost center.  As Thomas Friedman recommends, “Know the world you’re living in.”  As such, IT needs to be one of thee key drivers of business model change and overall strategy within your organization.


Addendum/also see:

  • 61-year tenure for average firm in 1958 narrowed to 25 years in 1980—to 18 years now.
  • A warning to execs: At current churn rate, 75% of the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027.
  • To survive and thrive, leaders must “create, operate and trade” their business units without losing control of their company.
  • Study led by Innosight director Richard N. Foster, co-author of Creative Destruction.

Free courses, elite colleges — from by Steve Kolowich


Robert Garland, a professor of classics at Colgate University, is not accustomed to discussing Greek religion with the lifeless lens of his MacBook’s built-in video camera. But that was how Garland spent Wednesday afternoon: in his home study, recording lectures on his laptop in 20-minute chunks.

Garland, a novice to online teaching, says it is difficult to think of these solitary sessions as lectures. “I think of them more as chats,” he says.

Garland’s gear is lo-fi: just the laptop, which he owns, and a microphone mailed to him by Udemy, the company that roped him into this.

Human Capital Trends 2011 — Revolution/Evolution — from


Workforce analytics: Up the ante …………………………………………….. 1
HR in the cloud: It’s inevitable …………………………………………………. 4
From ladder to lattice: The shift is on ………………………………………. 7
Emerging markets: The front line for growth and talent …………….. 10
Diversity and inclusion: Driving business performance ………………… 12
Next-generation leaders: New models for filling the pipeline ………. 15


Talent in the upturn: Recovery brings its own challenges ……………. 18
COOs for HR: Operations takes a seat at the table …………………….. 21
Leading in a regulated world: All risk, all the time……………………… 23
Collective leadership: Getting organizations to work as one ……….. 27
Contingent workforce: A critical talent segment ……………………….. 30
Employer health care reform: Moving beyond compliance …………. 32

Royal Holloway to validate publisher Pearson’s degree — from the BBC

  • Publishing giant Pearson has announced a partnership with Royal Holloway university that will allow it to enter the degree market.
  • The university is to validate a degree in business, developed by Pearson, which says it eventually wants its own degree-awarding powers.
  • A White Paper last week outlined government plans to allow the expansion of private degree providers.
  • But the lecturers’ union warned of a possible focus on profitable courses.
  • Pearson said the degree would be available from September 2012.
  • It said it was in talks with further education colleges, which would teach the course.

From DSC:
Many of the publishers already have teams of specialists in place; i.e. they’ve already set their tables (see the graphic I created below that represents where I believe ALL institutions of higher education need to get to — and as quickly as possible).



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