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Welcome to July AI Educators!

So far over the past few weeks we've explored the reasons why education needs non-linear innovation, how this can happen and the blocks that can hold us back. Click here to check out the previous editions.

In this edition we'll ask the important questions that help you realise why Box Three innovations are needed for your educational organisation.

This week I'm looking forward to speaking about AI at:

  • Iolani School, Hawaii
  • NPTC Group, Wales
  • A Seneca Webinar
  • Sheffield College, England
  • Burton College, England
  • Pembrokeshire College, Wales
  • Gower College, Wales
  • Emmanuel Schools Trust, England
  • The Thinking Digital Conference, England
  • The Festival of Education, England

If you would like to explore the possibility of me speaking at your event, school, college or university, you can contact me by clicking here.

A potent vision fuels our ambition

A potent vision fuels our ambition - to prepare our students for a successful life in a rapidly evolving world.

We have entered the Artificial Intelligence Era. In this rapidly changing and advanced world, it becomes increasingly evident that our existing educational models fall short of our ambitions. This realisation is not a cause for despair but rather a clarion call for a paradigm shift in our approach to education.

In case you have missed previous editions, let me get you up to speed with some of the terms and ideas I’ll be throwing around:

1. AI Era: Some call it the 4th Industrial Revolution. Put simply it’s the emerging world that we live, work and learn in, changed by new artificial intelligence technology.

2. Strategy: This is about leadership in the future. In a world of constant change, strategy = innovation.

3. Box 1: Based on the Three Box Solution to Innovation, Box 1 represents the current way of doing things.

4. Box 1 Innovation: Also referred to as linear innovation. This is change that simply serves to help us do what we are already doing in a more efficient way.

5. Box 3: This box represents a new way of thinking and doing things that help us achieve our ambitions in the context of the changing world around us.

6. Box 3 Innovation: Also known as non-linear innovation. This is change that helps us break through the old way of thinking and doing so that we can fulfil our ambitions in a rapidly changing world.

7. The Three-Box Paradox: The practice of holding Box 1 and Box 3 in balance, so that current operations continue while non-linear innovation takes place.

So, what's the crux of the issue?

To put it simply, more of the same won't work. Linear innovation is akin to painting a crumbling house; it may momentarily appear fresh, but the underlying issues remain unaddressed. It's the proverbial hamster wheel of "insanity" – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

The process of linear innovation within our education system often manifests as merely a refined version of our existing model. Perhaps a new curriculum is introduced, or a novel method of assessment is implemented. Yet these changes barely scratch the surface of the vast potential of what could be achieved.

So how do we achieve it?

Before launching straight for Box Three innovations, it is crucial to analyse your Box One operation. Contemplate what you are trying to achieve in education against the backdrop of the new AI world. 

What is the gap between your ambition and your current system? The responses to these queries, coupled with the understanding of your organisation's existing trajectory and proficiency, will aid you in unravelling the most significant query: Why is there a necessity for you to chase Box Three Non-Linear innovations?

Evaluating Your Organisation's Current Operations (Your Box One)

Consider the following key questions to effectively gauge the limitations of your current system. This will provide a practical reference point that will assist in identifying new potential areas of development.

What kind of students do you successfully cater to?

What benefits do you deliver to your students?

What is the process of delivering this value (value chain architecture)?

What skills are needed to distribute these benefits effectively?

Who are your primary competitors?

Where are your current successes?

Estimating Your Organisation's Future Ambition and The Limitations of Your Box One

Calculate the probable achievements you can anticipate from your Box One operations and your ambitions for what you want to accomplish. Then, contrast the two.

What are your ambitions for the next five years?

What are the shortcomings of your current system in achieving those ambitions in five years?

How substantial is the disparity between your five-year ambition and what you can practically achieve?

Remember, our ambition is to prepare our students for success in this new AI world. 

Be honest when answering these questions as it will provide the 'Why' for your Box Three innovations.

If this is not clarified well, then influencing those around you can fail.

If your organisation's ambition is to prepare your students for success in the AI Era, then the reality for most of us is that our Box One systems will fall short. Consequently, we must focus our energies towards Box Three's radical innovations to bridge this possibility gap.

We cannot ‘get away’ with carrying on as usual. AI and the innovations of private educational companies mean that realistic competition will be knocking on our doors very soon (I’ll get into this more in a future newsletter). Take Blockbuster as an illustrative example. At its pinnacle in 2004, this home entertainment rental juggernaut employed over eighty-four thousand people worldwide. But when confronted with non-linear innovations like mail-order service, automated kiosks, and on-demand services — introduced by the likes of Netflix and Redbox — Blockbuster found itself in a bind. It was an evolutionary deadlock it couldn't manoeuvre, leading to its bankruptcy in 2010.

Next week we’ll explore the scenarios we might ourselves in when we answer the questions above honestly and how to start an inventory of Box Three projects.