When phonograph records were invented, symphony orchestras thought the sound was so bad that it posed no threat to their ticket sales and concert attendance. "Who'd want one of those pieces of junk", said the concert master as he tuned his violin with panache. When AM radio came along, the tonal range was so pitiful that it appeared as no competition to everything with better sound quality. When portable transistor radios made it possible to walk around with tinny sound coming through an earphone, it too was presumed to be too bad to be worth anything to the mass market. No one expected the very bad invention to evolve into an industry standard by getting better and better.
My model for giving college dropouts a second chance is going to look bad at first also. In my Executive Summary, I predicted seven different objections that incumbents will raise against my approach. Since the submittal deadline, I've thought of a few more. The chorus of dissidents I'm expecting include the dropouts parents, college advisors, student services counselors, faculty, and college administrators. They're all convinced that preparation for effective roles in the next economy requires a college degree, content delivered by authoritative faculty members, textbooks published for use in college courses and frequent tests administered by watchdogs to catch the cheaters.
Here's some of the whining I expect to hear once this value proposition becomes available:
- This cannot be worth the time it takes to complete the process since it offers no diploma or transcript of grades.
- Students won't walk away with any useful knowledge or skills since there are no faculty to instruct them correctly.
- Enrollees won't have a clue how well they're doing since there are no tests to study for or texts to memorize.
- This won't prepare anyone for employment in corporations that reward compliance with authority figures and policies.
All they're really saying is that they are right about how things have always been done around here. They're like the mystified citizen seeing his/her first automobile and figuring it won't get down the road since there's no horse hitched up to it. When a disruptive innovation moves the goal posts, the new play action makes no sense to the referees, scorekeepers, fans, coaches or players of the tried and true ways to win. Game changers are not incremental improvements or respectful of legacy practices. They make do without the essentials of the previous paradigm to make a bigger and better difference in the long run. In the beginning, they only have to be good enough for those non-consumers who are put at a disadvantage by the incumbent product/service mix. My model for giving college dropouts a second chance will do just that.