Notes from Gary Hamel’s Keynote – Educause 2010

Gary Hamel (London School of Business) gave the keynote address on the first morning of Educause 2010. Here are some rough notes I took during his session.

The question we need to ask is “How will higher education change in the next 25 years?”

Longevity does not guarantee future existence.

We assume the underlying business model of our institutions is immortal. This is not true. It takes a “valley of the shadow of death” experience for us to reevaluate our assumptions. Not all organizations come out the other side.

Be careful not to underestimate creativity for resources.

Our change needs to be automatic, spontaneous, and reflexive.

How can you build an evolutionary advantage? Here are four challenges for doing so:

1. Cognitive Challenge: Getting beyond denial
-Organizations miss the future because it is unpalatable.
-Cycle of Denial: Dismiss, Rationalize, Mitigate, Confront
-Treat every belief about your organization’s business model as a hypothesis.
-Seek out the dissidents and critics.
-Spend time out on the bleeding edge.
-Try to imagine the unimaginable.

2. Strategic Challenge: Creating options for renewal
-Evolution comes from experiments.
-Get more at-bats than your competitors.
-The oak tree doesn’t know where the right soil lies. It drops acorns in every direction.
-In most of our organizations, we are not generating enough ideas.
-1000 ideas –>100 experiments–>10 projects–>1 winner

3. Political Challenge: Realigning talent and capital
-Move resources behind new ideas.

4. Existential Challenge: Enlarging our sense of mission
-Don’t lose sense of mission for business plan.
-Innovation is born in the gap between resources and aspirations.
-Apple reinvented the computer industry, the mobile phone business, the music industry, and the retail industry.


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