For those who don’t know the story of Sal Khan and the Khan Academy, a look at the back story and growth rate of the online education portal can be startling. What began as a one-on-one tutoring sessions between Khan and his cousin in 2004 has grown into a platform that touches 200 countries, includes 150,000 educators and welcomes 10 million unique users every month.
Khan’s made a dynamic presentation at CME Group’s annual Global Financial Leadership Conference this week and shared his keen insights on the current and future landscape for education:
On the rising costs of higher education in the U.S.: Khan said an education system where costs grow 5% faster than inflation is not sustainable, adding that the return on investment current students are getting is not good. “The ecosystem is right for alternatives.” Khan says the de-coupling of knowledge and credentials might help solve structural unemployment. (read more…)
Getting rid of managers seems like a drastic — and to some, very unwise — idea, but innovative companies like Valve and W.L. Gore & Associates (the makers of Gore-Tex) have made the move to flat organizational structures to much success.
Yet it’s difficult to imagine a workplace without managers when you haven’t experienced it yourself. What’s it like? How does anything even get done?
First let’s examine what it means to be a bossless organization.
Defining the bossless organization
Consider the traditionally hierarchical structure in the workplace, which looks like a pyramid with lots of layers. Your manager has a manager has a manager, and orders and directives trickle from the top down.
Bosslessness means smushing those layers together so that : 1. people aren’t always telling you what to do from on high; and 2. you also get a meaningful say. Companies take this repositioning quite literally, with no more cushy corner offices. (read more…)
Want to come up with the next best business? Think about what frustrates you most and try to fix it.
Often times, the most successful entrepreneurs don’t necessarily “come up with ideas” so much as they feel a pain particularly acutely and think they can solve it. The very best can map that to overarching trends in the market. Some of the greatest businesses were started not by a vision to launch a game-changing business but rather to solve a simple personal frustration.
Many of the entrepreneurs we see at Webb Investment Network were similarly dissatisfied with something in their lvies. The founders of Hipmunk didn’t like the user interface on travel sites. The entrepreneurs behind Grubwithus moved to a new city and had no one to share a meal with. The list goes on and on, and this is exactly why we see so many new dating site ideas — people are trying to help solve for what’s missing in their lives. (read more…)
David Burkus is the author of the new book “The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.” View the book trailer at the bottom of this post. He is also the founder of LDRLB and assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University. When he isn’t writing books, he’s a blogger for 99U, Forbes, PsychologyToday, Harvard Business Review and SmartBlog on Leadership. Here, he discusses where our faulty notions of the creative process come from as well as how we can lead organizations to be more innovative.
Why creativity? Don’t we already know whether or not we’re creative?
Actually no. A large number of the myths of creativity revolve around the faulty notion that some people have it and some people do not. We’ve tried to explain creativity as something a few people are gifted with, or that some people were born with. (read more…)
David Pearl is the author of “Will there be Donuts? Better Business One Meeting at a Time” (published in the U.S. by HarperCollins, October 2013, available at Amazon and B&N), an international business consultant and head of Pearl Group. His book, which SmartBlog on Leadership excerpts here, is not about ending meetings but about reforming meetings — cutting out the clutter and making the most of what meetings remain. I recently asked him about the book and about how to have better meetings.
I mentioned this book to a project manager friend of mine, and he immediately remarked on how meetings can be “great” but are rarely so. And I’ve found myself in the past year or two that I want to take more meetings — but only of certain kinds. Have you found more of this mindset or that of people who are just disgusted with meetings? (read more…)