I’ve stopped saying the word “disrupt” since people began exclaiming it in a kind of religious ecstasy. At some point in the last 18 months or so, “disruption” has completed its slide down the proverbial slippery slope and has stopped being a means and become an end in and of itself. Ends-means confusion is a terrible mistake, and never bodes well for the people who make it. I expect it bodes even worse for an entire field of endeavor (I’m looking at you, educational technology) that seems to have wholeheartedly bought into the switcheroo.
Remember Freedom Rock?
I hear variations on this conversation all the time:
“Hey man, has that approach to doing something tangentially related to education been considered a best practice for longer than 12 months?”
“Well it needs to be disrupted, man!”
Modern-day ends-means confusion aside, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The analysis presented in The Innovator’s Dilemma is brilliant and still has much to teach us. Reading this recent piece on Wired about the innovator’s dilemma made me appreciate, yet again, what a completely awful position commercial textbook publishers currently find themselves in. [Brackets are my commentary]:
Technology leaders [including commercial textbook publishers] evaluating whether to invest in new and immature technologies [like OER] must do so with a futuristic frame of reference. The key question is, if these technologies found new customers and new markets which may in themselves be small and insignificant (now and in the future) [like people who can’t afford to spend $600 per term on textbooks], could they mature enough to make inroads into our playing field and have our lunch? [Yes.] And if so, does investing in them today at the risk of cannibalizing ourselves make sense in the longer term? [Yes, but no publisher will.] Hence, the innovator’s dilemma.
Talk about your scylla and charybdis…