"During this time of rapid change and innovation, you can now learn anything you want to without a teacher or a school. This is forcing school leaders to reconsider everything about their institutional design." -- Scott Barron at the Free-Enterprise Leadership Summit at Northwood University, Nov 7, 2014
School boards and administrators must continually expand their view of who the competition is and how to respond in a manner that builds enrollment, engagement, and funding. Your biggest competitor isn't other schools--now you're in a strategic battle with all of the resources and organizations that are seeking to advance student learning. Your competition is everywhere!
Do the parents and students in your target market see a distinct value in the educational experience that you offer? Or are they more and more willing to consider other options as equally valuable and even interchangeable?
Online, community-based, and corporate-driven resources are radically changing the landscape for education. As more and more parents are choosing alternative programs for their children, school leaders have to consider more aggressive ways to innovate in order to accelerate their school improvement through design.
For almost a century, parents have been conditioned to choose from the traditional school options available through the public and private institutions in their area. But similar to the disruption caused to music, media, health care, retail, and every other sector of the economy, education is also being transformed in ways that are only now starting to emerge.
If someone wants to learn from experts in the field of biology, they don't have to wait on the next class offerings through their local school. Frankly, they can often find a similar or perhaps even better learning experience through other options.
The families in your area are being conditioned to think differently, which means your value proposition and the nature of your relationships will have to adjust. The schools that will thrive are those that can develop an entrepreneurial mindset and culture, adapting their entire school design to compete well in today's environment.