Over the coming few weeks I plan to share my thoughts on the key differentiators in this sector and the spectrum of opportunities that the Ed Tech sector brings compared to other sectors, in the context of really understanding the value creation dynamics. All these views, be they good, bad, boring or controversial are of course, my personal thoughts.
In my previous post, I talked about Content vs. Technology. Now I’ll delve further into the heart of the proposition…
2. Education vs. Technology
It is important to understand where enterprise value is created. The basis on which one can extend and expand, raise capital and create value for all stakeholders internally and externally.
The genesis of Ed Tech businesses normally determines their course over the initial period. This can range from disgruntled educators unable to support learners with existing products; cerebral academics with disruptive theories to drive improved outcomes or service providers that can fill gaps in the market with commercial propositions. All have some clear drivers and bias.
A pure academic basis alone may well have the most impact on outcomes as well be based on exceptional pedagogical principles, however, could stumble in commercial viability. It’s not case of making trite comments, that ‘Education is full of too many academics’, it’s more reflective of the lack of commercial support they have. Let’s be clear, great pedagogy is not only nice to have, but critical in the creation, survival and growth of an education focused technology business. However, without a sustainable commercial model, the opportunity will never see the light of day.
There are numerous businesses which are merely ‘in’ rather than ‘of’ the education sector.
On the other hand, too much ‘fluff’ without the pedagogy, ends up with ‘whiz bang’ products that just lack the ‘staying’ power through multiple school/learner years. Though impressive and even possibly engaging for the learner, they may lack the academic muscle to move beyond being a clever app and actually have any meaningful ‘track-able’ educational outcomes.
Balance is the key here. A strong academic and operationally validated Ed Tech solution/product, which has the commercial viability to have a sustainable lifecycle and a sustainable market, is of course, the aim.
There are of course numerous businesses, which are merely ‘in’ the education sector rather than ‘of’ the education sector. Let’s not confuse them with Ed Tech businesses!
In my next post, I will discuss how important it is to understand who the User is as opposed to the Buyer.
Picture by Collin Harris via Flickr