I saw this article today about Google aggressively promoting its IT certificate program.  While this primarily impacts North Caroline Community Colleges (for now), I see this creeping into our space.  Why get a four year degree when you can get a certificate (for free) that leads to a $60K job?  This is especially true for rural, veterans, and older adult students.

Immediately I thought of Clay Christenson’s work on disruption and innovation.

Take a look at this 48 second clip by Christenson and tell me if you do not see strong parallels to what we are facing with Google and other entrants into higher education.

“Look across the sweep of business history, almost in every instance a company that at one point was widely regarded as unassailably successful a decade or two later you’d find them in the middle of the pack or often at the bottom of the heap. I observed that, what is it that causes successful companies to fail is rarely that somebody beats them by coming into the market with a better product. But rather it’s somebody that comes at the bottom of the market actually with a product that is not as good as the leaders are making but this one is just a lot simpler, a lot more affordable so that a much larger population of customers can now own it and use it.”