Learning from the Pain of Others

Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, wonders whether the demise of print newspapers could be the foreshadowing of the demise of another American institution: higher education. In a recent post on his Wikinomics blog, Tapscott says some private colleges and regional public universities may be as vulnerable in coming years as the city newspaper is today. Integrating technology, innovative teaching methods, and a commitment to containing costs are keys to transformation in higher education, according to Tapscott.

As someone who teaches at a large public university, Tapscott's prediction is both unsettling and energizing. The parallel between what has happened to newspapers and trends impacting higher education has a great deal of validity. Businesses in any industry should take note of what has happened to financial services (quest for profits hurt financial positions), auto manufacturers (inability to make quick changes to customers' needs), and airlines (unwieldy cost structures) and learn from their mistakes. Economic challenges, changes in how people consume information, and new technologies that enable community formation online are forces higher education institutions cannot dismiss. Change occurs in all industries, although the magnitude of change varies across industries. Taking note of good and bad responses to change by others can be applied to managing change in one's own organization.

Link: "Colleges Should Learn from Newspapers' Plight"

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