Competitive innovation and improvement : statistical design and control

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Innovation is not about talking the talk but walking the walk. Moreover, an innovation can make a significant difference only when it is used on a wide scale. To create innovations is not enough, they need to be spread and used across schools and universities, a more difficult task. For the innovation to make a sizable effect, we need an army of implementers together with favorable conditions for the invention to spread and produce a result.

Implementers in turn have to be creative and motivated to do their job; they must also have freedom to innovate in the implementation, security on the job to take risks, and control of what they are doing. Ultimately, they need be trusted as are teachers in Finland to do their job right. Is this where one of the main problems of innovating lies? This is clearly an extension of the adaptive or differentiated approach to teaching and learning, thereby leading to customization of education Schuwer and Kusters, When we began to be more concerned about how students feel in the classroom, what bothers them, and how best to accommodate them to make their learning experiences superior and anxiety-free, we began to set aside the quality outcomes of the learning process.

Every cloud has a silver lining, fortunately. When market approach is applied to higher education, as it is in the current national and global competitive environment, the contest for enrollments increases and forces colleges to decrease attrition in all ways possible. This requires innovative approaches. The institutions that depend on enrollment for their revenue appear more willing to innovate than traditional, public universities that enjoy government support.

Clearly, private institutions are more adept at innovating than public ones. The market is a powerful factor, however, the changes it may bring have to be tackled cautiously. The hurdles to technology integration are described by Peggy Ertmer as external first-order and internal second-order barriers. The first-order barriers are purely operational technological , while the second-order barriers are applicational pedagogical. The difference in approaches to applying technology to teaching and learning overcoming technological vs pedagogical barriers might explain why huge investments in ET have brought little if any effect to the quality of learning outcomes.

Last but not least, innovations grow in a favorable environment, which is cultivated by an educational system that promotes innovation at all levels and produces creative, critical thinking, self-sufficient, life-long learners, problem solvers, and workers. This system enjoys a stimulating research climate, encourages uplifting cultural attitudes toward education, and rallies massive societal support. The ultimate question is, what innovations do we really need, and what innovations might we not need?

The Finnish example can teach us a good lesson. Pasi Sahlberg identifies a set of reforms popular in many countries that Finland has not adopted, including: standardization of curriculum enforced by frequent external tests;. Instead, the Finns went their own, the Finnish Way, so profoundly described by Pasi Sahlberg in his bestselling book Sahlberg, So would it be innovative not to adopt some reforms? A big question now arises, what is then the American way to build innovative education? And what would be the global way? To create innovations, we need innovators, and many of them.

But though innovation is often a spark originated in the mind of a bright person, it needs an environment that can nourish the fire. This environment is formed and fed by educational institutions, societal culture, and advanced economy.


Csikszentmihalyi underlines the importance of creating a stimulating macroenvironment, which integrates the social, cultural, and institutional context, and also microenvironment, the immediate setting in which a person works. Then, when the invention is created, it must fall into a fertile ground like a seed and be cultivated to grow and bring fruit. The audience is not only the educators but also students, parents, policy makers, and all other members of society who act either as implementers or consumers of the innovation.

Coherent systemic support is essential for growing innovations. Technology integration in education can be successful only when the human element is taken into consideration. This then integrates innovators, implementers, educational leadership, professional community and, certainly, the learners. When we try to innovate education, we often leave students out of the equation. Yet, we try everything we can to improve teaching delivery , while what we actually need is to improve learning. In education, nothing works if the students do not. According to the famous Bulgarian scholar Georgi Lozanov , learning is a matter of attitude, not aptitude.

This is where the greatest potential for improving education lies. To help develop new survival skills, effective communication and critical thinking skills, and nurture curious, creative, critical thinking, independent and self-directed entrepreneurs, we must disrupt the ways of our school system and the ways our teachers are prepared.

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Teacher education and professional development are definitely one of the primary areas that call for innovative approaches: teachers must be taught to teach well Marcus, Students are much more likely to learn to solve real-world problems and collaborate productively with their peers, for example, if their learning activities are carefully designed to offer opportunities for them to do these things. Teacher social status is one of the determining factors of the teacher quality.

It reflects the quality of teaching and learning and also the level of pedagogic innovations. In our drive to enhance educational innovation, empowering school teachers and college instructors may be the most important task. What kind of people do we consider teachers? How do we elevate teachers in society? Research focusing on raising productivity and efficiency and improving the quality of learning has to increase in all critical areas of education.

One crucial indicator of educational effectiveness is measuring the quality of learning that remains imperfect. Developing clear and effective measures of educational quality is an important venue for future innovative research. Societal support for innovative education and building up a new culture of educational preeminence both inside the education system and around it is paramount for its success. Brunner suggests viewing education in a broader context of what society intends to accomplish through its educational investment in the young.

The best way to achieve superior education is to shape a new educational culture. Innovation can be presented as a model in the context of its effects on the quality of teaching and learning within an educational environment, which is permeated by professional and societal cultures Figure 1. Therefore, innovations in education focus primarily on technology and technology applications. Technocentrists want to see education more automated, more technology-enhanced, and more technology-controlled in the hope of making education more effective.

While we realize there is no stopping the technological revolution, we educators must do all we can to preserve the primary mission of education, which is reflected in a humanistic approach that caters to the whole person wherein efforts are made to develop a free, independent, critical thinking, active, and effective thinker, doer, citizen, and worker.

Along with developing our own innovations and creating a broad base for implementation, it might be useful to look outside the box. As the world becomes more and more globalized, national education systems are shedding their uniqueness and gaining a more universal, homogeneous look e. The rich international educational palette offers unique solutions to many issues facing US schools and universities.

What attractive innovative approaches exist in the world that could be applied to the US education system? In Finland, a new ecosystem for learning was created Niemi et al. Singapore, for one, has become one of the top-scoring countries on the PISA tests by cultivating strong school leadership, committing to ongoing professional development, and exploring innovative models, like its tech-infused Future Schools EDUTOPIA, b. In Shanghai, China, every low-performing school is assigned a team of master teachers and administrators to provide weekly guidance and mentorship on everything from lesson plans to school culture EDITOPIA, a.

The list of international innovations to cogitate is, fortunately, extensive. Is this what our educational innovators could do something about? This attribution is helpful to students because it tells them that intelligence is under their control. There are numerous exciting foreign examples for the US educators to learn from and innovate, implementing and adapting them to US schools.

A right step in this direction is to integrate global education ideas into teacher preparation programs. The principal focus of this specialization is on advanced, innovative, and effective international approaches, ideas, and strategies in teaching and learning that address the needs of the nation and create contemporary school environments to accommodate diverse student populations. Focusing on the universal need for continuous improvement in teaching and learning, this specialization provides students with a balance of philosophy and theory, practice and application through collaborative research projects and field-based activities.

An even more remarkable consequence has been a change to their national cultures. This provides a worthy example for other nations, including ours. To sum up, we need to create favorable conditions for growing our own innovations, while taking advantage of the best international theories and practices. Among many points for educational innovations time definitely deserves close attention. Time is a significant factor in education.

Attempts to save time on learning and raise its productivity are well known to each of us. To increase learning efficiency using so-called accelerated and intensive approaches is a promising path for innovation. These two approaches demonstrate the difference between evolutionary and revolutionary disruptive approaches.

Innovation, as we know, can be called to life by social, political, or professional factors but the strongest is definitely economic. A flat world Friedman, means global competition, faster production cycles, and more to keep up with. Time is speeding up. Requirements for workers are rapidly mounting in industry and business due to swiftly changing technologies and fierce international competition. If you ask students what worries them most, it is the cost of the next course and its value for their future job.

Education has become more expensive and less affordable for many people. Therefore, educators need to find ways to make education more time and cost efficient Hjeltnes and Hansson, We can identify two possible roads to take. The first is to increase revenue, and this is what the majority of colleges and universities are doing. Raising tuition, however, has its limits; government support is drying out. Cutting costs, on the other hand, may undermine some essential aspects of higher education.

The second road is to increase learning productivity defined as the output learning outcomes measured in certain units per dollar or per time unit academic year, semester, month, week, day, or hour. The former can be used to compute cost efficiency, while the latter will help to define time efficiency. Time efficiency and cost efficiency of education are evidently interrelated. The most obvious source of enhancing educational productivity is integration of ICT; however, there are other ways.

Time is the most precious of commodities, especially for WALs. Our own survey of National University students who take accelerated programs, which allow them to graduate sooner than in conventional programs, shows that time is paramount when selecting their learning program Serdyukov et al. When asked what is more important for them, the cost of the program or the time spent learning, 88 percent of surveyed WALs stated that time was more important, and they were willing to pay more for a shorter program of the same quality. So accelerated programs are often more competitive than the conventional extended ones.

Serdyukov and Serdyukova posit that time efficiency of the learning process is a decisive factor in assessing a program or a course. In their opinion, colleges and universities, which are now evaluated based upon the quality of their education, will soon be selected and valued based on the time needed for the learning to take place.

In the same way, programs that cost less will be more competitive than those that cost more. When considering time investment, instructional activities are basically concerned with either learning more in the same time i. Consideration of time investment in learning coupled with recent innovations in cognitive psychology and ET is what brought to life accelerated and intensive programs. Various approaches and methodologies for providing faster and shorter education without compromising academic quality have been described in the literature Scott and Conrad, ; Rose and Nicholl, ; Bowling et al.

They are grounded in the newest brain research in the cognitive and emotional potential of learners Lozanov, , ; Kitaigorodskaya, , innovative approaches to teaching and learning that use nontraditional organizational forms, techniques and processes Boyes et al.

Accelerated and intensive programs can significantly shorten the duration of the learning measured in class hours, days, weeks, or semesters. In some cases, they can also increase learning outcomes measured in the volume of knowledge constructed or skill sets learned in a given time. Serdyukov, A conventional semester model of college education may not suit a new generation of WALs who take school part-time and need to speed up learning to obtain employable competencies and skills. The AL model delivers a semester program in a shorter period of time than the conventional program model but with the comparable results.

Onsite classes usually meet two evening sessions per week for four-and-a-half hour each; in some cases, there are two additional Saturday morning sessions of the same duration. Thus, each course runs for eight evenings with one Saturday morning final session for graduate programs totaling Online courses also run for four weeks but instead of face-to-face classroom sessions students participate in threaded discussions one or two per week , view live videoconferencing sessions one per week , carry out weekly written assignments, develop projects, and in some courses complete mandatory field activities e.

The sequential approach when students take one course after another allows for more accumulated and integrated learning experiences. Besides, according to the student survey Serdyukov et al. Therefore, learning only one content area at a time has become one of the crucial factors of AL. The intensive approach, a superior level of AL, has been used in many countries primarily for foreign language education, probably the most time-consuming didactic endeavor.

One indicator of how efficiently a student has learned a foreign language is the number of words learned, retained, and correctly used in communication, both in oral and written speech reading and writing. According to research Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, , a person needs to know and be able to use two to three thousand words in a foreign language for basic communication. These so-called communicative skills can be assessed by the ability of the learner to accomplish a communication task in certain communicative situations.

Duration of the study course at this level in a conventional institution can reach hours. At a rate of two hours a week, the course duration may extend to or more weeks two years. When an innovative, intensive instructional methodology, such as suggestopedia Lozanov, ; Kitaigorodskaya, ; Rose and Nicholl, , is used to teach a foreign language, the learning efficiency significantly rises, and the course duration with the same outcomes can be reduced by approximately 50 percent, as compared to a conventional college course.

For instance, an initial intensive course can take up to to hours. The course is usually taught with higher frequency and longer lessons usually four to five hours, two to three or more times a week. Thus, a complete course of study may be completed only in ten weeks 2. This is a case of disruptive, revolutionary innovation that produces a radical transformation in foreign language learning where learners achieve course goals and objectives in half the study hours and one-tenth of a typical course duration.

This approach, which was extremely popular in Eastern Europe Bulgaria, Soviet Union in the s and s, was to a larger extent inspired by the rise of the Iron Curtain and prospective emigration to the west. Why it was not recognized and did not spread throughout US schools and colleges may be partially due to a lack of need English is spoken worldwide. In addition, it is labor intensive and demands high-level teacher qualifications special preparation, dedication, excellent dispositions, inventiveness, and very hard work in the class.

In addition, it must be taught in specially designed and equipped classrooms. Both accelerated and intensive short-term courses demand highly efficient planning, organization, and management of the instructional process. Furthermore, to ensure efficient course delivery, innovative methods and technologies are required for effective presentation, processing, skill development, and real-life applications.

Many accomplishments in AL and IL methodologies, incidentally, can be used to teach other than foreign language programs. We formulated ten major principles that create the foundation of IL: learner-centered approach;. The formula for IL is as follows: The more organized and efficient the instructional system, the more focused the student, the more effort is produced, the better the effect of learning, the faster the rate of learning, and the shorter the process duration Serdyukov and Serdyukova, This is why all accelerated and intensive courses are always short two weeks to months long.

If no significant effort is applied to learning, then there is no effect, no increase in productivity, and consequently, no opportunity to shorten the duration of the course. So, accelerated programs that speed up learning by compressing the course duration, while requiring the same number of hours for the same learning outcomes, are an evolutionary innovation. Intensive programs that provide better outcomes in a considerably shorter time are a revolutionary innovation.

We can state now that when an innovation ensures significantly better outcomes and saves on cost or time by at least an order of 2 percent or more, we can call it a revolutionary innovation. Measuring time in learning can be instrumental for increasing its productivity. Learning to manage time productively is especially acute for independent learners and online students for whom effective time management is a well-known issue.

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Therefore, teachers need be taught to use time effectively. In teacher preparation programs, for instance, we recommend that teachers use time estimates when planning lessons Serdyukov and Ryan, ; FEA, Thus, making learning more time and cost efficient offers a promising venue for further innovations. US education desperately needs effective innovations of scale that can help produce high quality learning outcomes across the system and for all students. We can start by intensifying our integration of successful international learning models and creating conditions in our schools and colleges that foster and support innovators and educational entrepreneurs, or edupreneurs Tait and Faulkner, Moreover, these transformations should be varied, yet systematic, targeting different vital aspects of education.

Deep, multifaceted, and comprehensive innovations, both tangible and intangible, have the capacity to quickly generate scalable effects. We also have to bring all grades, from preschool to higher and postgraduate levels, into one cohesive system. As the price of education, especially at colleges and universities, continues to rise, cost and time efficiency of learning, effective instructional approaches, and methods and tools capable of fulfilling the primary mission of education all will become critical areas of research and inventive solutions.

Colleges and universities must concentrate on expanding the value of education, maximizing the productivity of learning, correlating investments with projected outcomes, and improving cost and time efficiency. Whatever technologies we devise for education, however much technology we integrate into learning, the human element, particularly the learner and teacher, remains problematic. So, while taking advantage of effective educational technologies, we must situate those modern tools within a wider context of human education in order to preserve its humanistic, developmental purpose and, thus, make more effective use of them.

Computers for schools are ready, but are we ready? Our understanding of how students learn and how teachers teach and craft their methodology in technology-based environments remains lacking. Questions to ask are whether current methods help increase learning productivity, and as a result, time and cost efficiency. All technology applications require a solid theoretical foundation based on purposeful, systemic research and sound pedagogy to increase efficiency and decrease possible side issues.

When integrating novel technologies in teaching and learning, we must first consider their potential applicability, anticipated costs and benefits, and then develop successful educational practices. In order to succeed, innovative education must become a collective matter for all society for which we must generate universal public responsibility.

Otherwise, all our efforts to build an effective educational system will fail. Aaron , S. Abeyta , E.

Accuosti , J. Afshar , V. Baer , L. Decisions, Reports and plans. Published: 29th May This is the Guidance, pro forma and spreadsheet that applicants should use when completing their Full Submissions for the Electricity NIC. Published: 30th Apr Open letters and correspondence. Published: 26th Feb See version 3. Wahoo Fitness puts data at the core of its marketing initiatives to develop insights about its customers and how to market to them and find other individuals like them — such as identifying those that have the highest lifetime value — that the company could not generate with its own data alone.

So, for example, it uses insights from social signals on Facebook and Strava a fitness app for cyclists that in turn provide Wahoo with information about the online behavior of those consumers, including ad impressions that they are exposed to. Combining multiple data sources, while difficult, provides insights that are not possible when they are used in isolation from one another.

In , they formed an alliance and bought Berlin-based HERE, a digital mapping company, to create a crowdsourcing service that enables drivers to share detailed video views of traffic jams and other road conditions on a single platform. The sheer number of customers participating in this platform is expected to create a service that delivers more value to each car owner than a comparable effort from an automaker with fewer customers — a competitive advantage for the partnership. GE is still trying to convince oil and gas customers to share performance data for industry-wide benchmarking.

The benefits could be enormous, since even small improvements can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for major oil companies. Oil and gas customers tell GE that they would like to have the benchmark data but are unwilling to contribute their own, so the data sharing is not occurring — nor is the innovation it might enable. Efforts to share data across industry lines — even when there is little risk that a competitor will gain advantage — are also fraught. But it does not yet have access to the telematics data gathered by onboard computers to make the model work. Auto dealers do have access to the data, at least when cars are under warranty.

And some insurance companies also gather telematics data from drivers who permit them access in order to qualify for discounts based on what the data shows about their driving habits or for pay-as-you-go coverage. Today, neither car manufacturers nor insurers share telematics data, but Moody is optimistic that they will. As these examples make clear, ownership of useful data is altering power relationships within industries and even within companies.

As organizations learn how to extract more and more value from data, incumbents that grew to prominence based on physical assets now face diminished importance of those assets due to the rising value of data. Data governance encourages data sharing by controlling what can and cannot be shared.

In health care, well-established regulations about how patient data can and cannot be shared can actually encourage sharing rather than restrict it. See Figure 8. Good governance can improve both the effectiveness and speed with which shared data and analytics improve innovations:. Smart machines that can take on tasks that traditionally required a human have captured the popular imagination.

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But the immediate benefits from smarter machines are not in human replacement. For example, machine-learning techniques applied to dull, repetitive, data-cleaning work allow computers to learn from patterns they discern in large datasets, enabling companies to automate some analytical tasks and freeing up data experts to work on higher-value-added tasks.

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Data experts are just one of many pools of workers that automated work flows may affect in ways that are not yet known. For several years, the more advanced corporate users of analytics in our surveys have told us they are using analytics to automate processes in their companies.

See Figure 9. Fewer companies overall and fewer Analytical Innovators say that tasks are being fully automated. So, at least for now, rather than always replacing human skills and jobs, companies use analytics to help humans work better or complete tasks that they could not have done themselves, such as scanning millions of customer records to find patterns.

At Wayfair, Drollette talks about the importance of automating certain types of work. Bridgestone found that workers were more than happy to get assistance from a smart algorithm. For years, the company used an essentially manual process to allocate inventory across the United States. Detailed segmentation through analytics led to many specialized and targeted products, but after a while, some stores had no room left to store additional inventory. Physical constraints kept each location from being able to keep a volume of every product on hand.

So employees then had the new task of allocation to each individual location based on its idiosyncratic customer characteristics. Moody and his team offered to embed the current human processes into dynamic algorithms that would use sales data to allocate store inventory.

The team that had been struggling with the inventory process welcomed the new system. Now, instead of spending their days trying to set the stock levels across the entire country, the team is occupied with more strategic questions and happy to let the model do the grunt work. Similarly, at video game producer Electronic Arts Inc. Many functional areas within organizations increasingly look to data and analytics as a source of knowledge and influence. Many functional areas report increases in influence within their respective organizations as a result of their use of analytics.

See Figure This is the seventh MIT Sloan Management Review research study of business executives, managers, and analytics professionals. They represent organizations around the world and from a wide range of industries. The research also includes interviews from experts from a number of industries and disciplines. Their insights into the evolving uses of analytics have enriched our understanding of the survey data. In addition, we incorporate case examples that document how analytics are being used. To cite this report, please use: S. Ransbotham and D.