Radio Interview about Gender Balance in Practice

2014-09-18

Do we need quotas for females in leadership and on company boards? Do they work? Do those already at the top think they cannot do anything about it? What kind of basic assumptions do we typically have about men and women in management? What are the argument for gender imbalance? What is the governance case for gender balance?

Listen to my answers to these and other questions in this 9 min radio interview with me in the Irish radio show NewsTalk – Moncrief, 11 September, 2014.

.mp3 file here:


The Renaissance We Need in Business Education

2014-07-03

Having taught at five business schools over several decades and served as Dean of two, I have come to a conclusion: The educational institutions where our future business leaders are being trained must be recalibrated and transformed dramatically.

Business education today is anachronistic in both how it is conducted and what its content focuses on. Our brick institutions have in no way caught up with what today’s technologies make possible in terms of virtual learning and individualized, customized instruction. More importantly, business education needs to evolve once again, revising its goals to educate leaders of the future who have a new set of skills: sustainable global thinking, entrepreneurial and innovative talents, and decision-making based on practical wisdom.

Full text in my 2 July 2014 article “The Renaissance We Need in Business Education” in Harvard Business Review.


Lessons needed to beat the computer

2014-06-20

Half of the jobs in the category “management, business and financial” involve complex perception and manipulation tasks, as well as creative and social intelligence, and will not be automated for a decade or two. This is a call to action. It suggests that business schools must refocus their curricula to provide students with the right skills so that they avoid being computerised out of the future.

Full text in my 18 June 2014 article “Lessons needed to beat the computer” in Financial Times.

 

 


Authenticity Makes a Difference

2014-05-25

How do we respond to the onslaught of challenges facing universities and business schools? When the world is changing, clinging to old models is a bad idea. Know thyself and build on it.

Read how we at JIBS are keeping the creeping sameness in the business of business school at bay.

Full story in my 19 May 2014 article “Authenticity Makes a Difference“at www.vertikals.se – JIBS’ blog on entrepreneurship, renewal and ownership.

 


The Changing Business of Business Schools

2014-02-25

I think it’s time for us to admit that the critics have a valid question: Why aren’t business schools changing faster to keep up with changes in the business world?

Full story in my25 February 2014 guest blog “The Changing Business of Business School“.

 

EFMD is a management development network serving over 800 member organisations from academia, business, public service and consultancy in 81 countries. It is a unique forum for information, research, networking and debate on innovation and best practice inmanagement development.


Making the good even better: reforming a business school

2014-02-15

You are probably not very familiar with Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) or its Swedish name Internationella Handelshögskolan but our goal is that within five years you will be…..over the last two years my colleagues and I have carefully begun to reform Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) in Sweden along its basic business dimensions.

Full story in my January 2014 article “Making the Good even Better” in Global Focus, 2014, 9(1), pp. 48-51. Here I describe and discuss the transformations made to renew the pioneering and entrepreneurial strategy and culture of this unique Swedish business school.

The issue of Global Focus was published in conjunction with the annual 2014 Dean and Director General Conference, attracting more than 300 business school leaders from around the globe.


To MOOC or not, that’s the question

2014-02-12

The MOOCs phenomenon – Massive Open Online Courses – comes with either the threat or promise of disruptive innovation in one of the fundamental pillars of society: higher education. How should business schools deal with this phenomenon?

MOOCs are networked higher education courses delivered on the net to anyone with a thick internet connection, anywhere. The first MOOC was offered in 2008 – and was a result of the convergence of distance (“e-“) learning and the accelerating bandwidth of the internet. The acronym speaks to the promises that MOOCs offer:

  • Massive. The technology enables thousands of students to enroll and participate at any time in courses about anything taught by talented professors from any institution in the world.
  • Open.  They are open in several respects. Anyone can enroll. Students may pay a symbolic fee to get the formal credit from the host institution, but they do not pay for participation in the course.  The material produced by faculty is open and shared openly.
  • Online. Participants network openly with faculty, among themselves, and with others who are online. Content is always available on the net and can take many forms, like articles, books, videos, tweets and tags.
  • Courses.  MOOCs can cover just about any course taught in a traditional university setting, from humanities to social sciences, to even the hard sciences. Almost no type of course is MOOC ineligible.

The arguments between MOOCs proponents and skeptics are filling newspaper articles, blog posts, tweets and conferences. Will MOOCs fundamentally transform higher education, or is it just hype playing on the emotional appeal of “bringing inexpensive higher education to millions?”

No matter what it is, it seems clear that university leaders need to start paying greater attention.

Learnings from Two Conferences

Over the last week, I attended two meetings for business school leaders where the MOOCs theme surfaced center stage: the 2014 EFMD Conference for Deans & Directors General in Gothenburg and the 2014 AACSB Deans Conference in San Francisco. These meetings attracted respectively more than 300 and 600 business school leaders from all over the world. During the sessions, I learned about the leading providers of MOOCs:

  1. A few Stanford science and engineering professors began offering their courses online and founded the for-profit MOOCs providers Udacity and Coursera.
  2. The MOOCs landscape today includes a range of for- and non-profit providers with their own twist, including KhanAcademy, Udemy, and CodeAcademy.
  3. MIT and Harvard formed a new approach, the edX consortium, which currently includes many Ivy League quality universities in the world. In July 2013, edX went open-source and shared the software needed to develop MOOCs.
  4. In September 2013, Google signed up with edX to create a portal website that will go live in a few months  – mooc.org – which they hope will soon become a YouTube for MOOCs. (Google is already a member of the Udacity initiated Open Education Alliance.)

Understanding the debate

At the two gatherings, we heard from both MOOCs proponents and skeptics. Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn (“Learn anytime, anywhere”), gave a sobering view of the possibilities of MOOCs, reminding us they are a merely an extension of the Open University approach already in place for 40 years. His message: Forget the hype about the end of universities. Higher ed just needs to learn how to augment their content with crowd interaction and great online user-experiences.

Some claimed MOOCs have already gone from good to great. Paul Stacey of Creative Common praised one of the first MOOCs – ds106.us – for its fundamental social learning, open pedagogy and underlying “constructivism” philosophy of education. His message: don’t let these fundamentals slip.

Coursera co-founder Daphny Koller (“Take the World’s Best Courses, On-Line, for Free”) and Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva (“Only the world’s brightest, most motivated students will be invited to attend”) represented the contrast between Massively & Open-oriented vs. Small & Elite-oriented.  Their overall message was that MOOCs will help teaching reclaim prominence in today’s research-biased higher education world.

From the debate, Q&As, and informal talk during these gatherings, it became clear to me that in MOOCs lie both opportunities and threats for all higher education institutions, including business schools. Some will find natural strengths to integrate MOOCs into their strategy, like the renowned universities that have already signed up with big MOOC providers. But others will have faculty members who adamantly oppose MOOCs, and some institutions will assert their territorialism.

We are seeing this already. On 2 May 2013, professors in the philosophy department at San Jose State University, CA wrote a letter to Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor whose MOOC on Justice they felt infringed on their own curriculum. The letter urged Sandel to “not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.” But one of the commentaries on this letter countermanded, “…we also need to face the fact that professors can be expendable and replaceable, especially when real financial constraints are considered.  That is tough on egos.”

Similarly, 58 Harvard professors voiced their frustration that Harvard had become so deeply involved with edX without consulting them. In a letter to the dean they called for a new committee and greater oversight of MOOCs. The dean didn’t comply.

So What’s Next?

Personally, I see potential for symbiosis from the interaction of traditional higher education and MOOCs.

On one hand, even the skeptics can’t ignore the gross enrolment numbers MOOCs can generate. In January 2014, one of the earliest MOOC providers signed up students at a daily rate of 10.000, totaling some 7 million participants. Skeptics point to low completion rates though, only 4 to 10%. But, even with completion rate of just 7%, the number of Coursera “graduates” equals all students currently enrolled in three Harvard Universities and one MIT combined. Such an achievement calls for celebration, IMO!

I also agree with the criticisms about traditional lectures and often ask faculty why any student should spend time listening to one in an auditorium. Students tell me they rather get an App or go to an online site where they can watch a video of the lecture whenever and wherever they like. They also want to be able to choose the video of a more talented professor—and we are seeing this happen– celebrity professors who are becoming like rockstars.

But questions remain: Will students and employers value a MOOC diploma as much as the one from a “real” university? What is the perceived value of an “accreditation” of a course made by a Nobel Laureate compared to an international accreditation agency? A few days ago 110.000 people had signed up for the first such MOOC, offered by Laureate Robert Schiller,  who gained the prize in 2013. Can MOOC providers continue to operate with a viable business model? And who will pay for the professorial time devoted to develop and run MOOCs, especially in institutions already stretched financially?

What will evolve next is an open question for all of us. If MOOCs represent the tsunami some people claim they are, it is difficult to see how resistance to them will prevail. The next step would at least be for universities to open up to substituting MOOCs for some their own courses in programs delivered on campus. I am sure the MOOCs providers are exploring viable business models that could let this happen, and quality ensured licensing looks like the natural choice.

In my business school, JIBS, I want us to be ready for this possibility. That is why we recently launched a strategic project with a dual purpose: 1) to explore how we could encourage some faculty members to develop MOOCs and learn from this; and 2) how we can integrate others’ MOOCs into our degree programs. At least, we’re taking a first step.