Sunday, December 04, 2005

Save Our Schools?

One way to think about an idea is to time-travel to the past and place yourself in the period when the idea was emerging. So if you were around the time that the blackboard was devised (or invented) how would you feel about it? And you see that technology is not just computers, it is even present in the evolution of a plain blackboard. And it would have been considered an innovation in its time. Consider the idea of travelers cheques or the photocopy machines or the automobile replacing the horses. All these ideas changed their field to a great extent from the previous pattern. Read about innovation in tissue papers here.

A step further in understanding innovation comes from the fact whether a particular innovation helps implement a technology better (like gmail) or well, gives rise to a completely new technology (like email). In jargon, the former is called sustaining innovations and the latter is called disruptive innovations. Read more about it here and for the book, click here.

What relevance does it hold for public policy?

Consider schooling. Think about all the factors associated with it. A 50-100 years hence, would things still be the same way? Read the article here Save Our Schools, for it might as well apply to India!

Before you get "misled" by the author's policy prescription, here is my contention. It is convenient to think of government as the architect for any grand-scale scheme because our minds probably cannot take in the amorphousness of a market. How about thousands of entrepreneurs in a deregulated schooling market competing for price, access, quality and diversity?

Back to the Top

Back to the Top