Assisting the job getting done

Customers are always getting something done in their own worlds, using their own frames of reference in order to accomplish something they have in mind. Most providers of content, products and services don't get any of that. They assume the customers must want what is being pushed onto them. The providers adopt a "take it or leave it" stance that provides them with no basis to utilize complaints, make sense of non-consumers needs or call a halt to "feature creep". Customers who don't buy what is being sold must be misinformed or missing out on a good thing. The provider is always right and customers who buy it are always right too. The disruptive innovation model wisely contrasts with this. The job getting done by the customer in their own minds -- serves as the basis for the innovation.
the characteristics of disruptive innovation: it would need to be a good-enough, low-cost solution to a job that enough people were trying to get done that it would create a new market at the low end of an established market (Renee Hopkins Callahan on the Innosight blog)
The complaints about, outcries against and criticisms of the TEAL classrooms at MIT that I listed on Innovating for show reveal jobs getting done by undergraduate physics students. Disruptors of higher ed could take any of these as a launch pad to formulate good-enough, low cost solutions. Here's some of the jobs getting done according to the students' own frames of reference:
  • Being wary of scams, bogus offers, and false promises as well as alerting their classmates when any have been uncovered
  • Taking pride in their alma mater, valuing the prestigious credential, avoiding disgraceful harm to that shared reputation
  • Recognizing how to play the grade game, what's changed in the relative weight of different portions of the final grade and what's getting over/under emphasized
  • Uncovering disguised profit motives and commercial interests that exploit the captive market of enrolled students and deprive them of enduring value
  • Paying attention to the presenter by facing in his/her direction while also turning toward a table taking notes on their laptops
  • Seeking stimulation, relevance, meaningful challenges that provides freedom from tedium, boredom and exhaustion
  • Getting frustrated with receiving the same grade as the other students who have not contributed adequately to complete the group project.
  • Disciplining oneself to grasp all the main points, to study them repeatedly until they make sense and to practice using them accurately before the test
  • Distracting oneself from the useless presentation by unobtrusively going online during the class
Helping students get these job done will undermine "business as usual" for the classroom delivery models of higher ed. To incumbents, it appears that assisting students accomplish these jobs would undermine their value proposition, lower the quality of what they consistently deliver, disrupt the workflow of the faculty, and change the metrics for assessing outputs. They got that right!

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