The latest issue of Briefings On Talent and Leadership (Q4.2010) contains an insightful article by Victoria Griffith, "Price Cutting at the Bottom of the Pyramid." Griffith studies what companies have been doing to reach the global mass market: slashing prices.
Of course, it is not so clear-cut. In their efforts to address pricing, companies have had to innovate in non-traditional ways. I am wondering whether schools and school leaders can take a cue from these businesses and devise ways to boost our enrollments through innovation.
1. Reverse innovation. This twist on traditional innovation entails taking a current product and adapting it for a different marketplace. For schools, the question would be: how can we take the traditional delivery method of independent education and simplify it or redesign it to meet the needs of other strata within the extant educational marketplace?
2. Horizontal innovation. Peter Williamson, professor at the Cambridge Judge School of Business, believes that "Western companies are going to have to change their processes, and that's why it's problematic for them. It upsets their whole business model." He is of the opinion that the greatest untapped potential for companies lies in horizontal innovation, which is based on the premise that a well-priced product that does well in one emerging market is likely to do well in another. The question for schools, then, is: can we come up with a delivery model that can be ubiquitous, yet remain flexible enough to be scaled up or down, as need dictates?