Disruptive Innovation in Executive Education and the Way Forward

03 September, 2020

The theory of Disruptive Innovation, introduced first by the American scholar Clayton Christensen in early 1995, has proved to be a powerful way of thinking for business leaders who are partial to the notion of innovation-driven growth. Organisations which applied and perfected this theory in practice include modern day household names like Tesla, Netflix, Uber and Google among others.

Executive Education, in itself, has been a product of disruptive innovation which has been a spin-off from the traditional educational mechanisms. Executive Education provides concise, focused courses that help working professionals to enhance their expertise and skill sets, modernise themselves and upscale the knowledge pool. Digital transformation has been the biggest catalyst of disruptive innovations in the educational sector which has paved the way for the path-breaking ‘Synchronous learning in Online Education’.

Disruptive thinking is the practice of coming up with an idea that has no precedent for success and hence is thronged by myriad risk factors. Major inconvenience around consistent disruptive interventions means that different types of innovation require different strategic approaches. Such interventions should also provide economic viability and profitability since revamping strategy is both money and time consuming. Thus, it caters to a conducive environment for start-ups for being more disruptive innovation friendly. In that context, diversifications and branching out from rooted educational systems and successfully challenging established educational practices benefit in disrupting traditional strategies. Virtual Reality (VR), Collaboration Platforms, Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) are some of the disruptive technologies which have the potential to revolutionize the current methods of knowledge dissemination.

Virtual reality and haptics are becoming more sophisticated and affordable, enabling the usage of technology to help students rethink student experience with the assistance of Augmented Reality. This, without a doubt, offers a substantially lucrative future for executive education. Multimedia platforms with materials like videos, presentations and forums are integrated with Learning Management systems, making them simple and accessible to many, and bringing  some sort of equality in the distribution of knowledge. There are groundbreaking innovations involving Gadgets and Gizmos, as for example, the replacement of bank tellers by robots. Artificial intelligence, the IoT and quantum computing are areas in which the education sector can invest for future disruptive innovations. The cognitive computing market, including machine learning and AI systems, are some of the general-purpose information and communication technologies that will remain critical in future not only for accessing new ideas, but also as platforms for developing strategic solutions.

Hence it is fair to argue that the age of disruptive innovation in executive education has truly begun and the adoption of technology-driven educational practices has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to avoid in-person interaction. Once adopted extensively, the trend is likely to extend and continue at least in the executive education level.

Dr. Vivek Mohan



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