I have finally got around to reading my copy of Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovative University“. I’ve long followed his very clear minded theory and arguments about “disruptive innovations” – watch his easy to follow description of the theory below.
Basically, a disruptive innovation is a product or service that takes what was once something only few could afford and through innovation after innovation – “disrupts” the system, makes it affordable and brings it to vast numbers of people. This in a nutshell is what EnglishCentral is doing.
Think about it. How many people used speech recognition technology to learn language even just 5 years ago? Very few. It was terribly expensive (and still is when you note the prices of our competitors). Now with EnglishCentral, the costs are being lowered, we are constantly innovating and bringing this fantastic technology for language learning to the world. Or think about same language subtitled educational video. A powerful tool for education as video becomes the new textbook. How many schools could afford or were able to teach with this even 5 years ago, PYT? (Pre YouTube). Now with EnglishCentral, video streams efficiently in the classroom or a device and students can watch thousands of relevant, educational subtitled videos for free.
William Gibson famously quipped, “The future is here, it is just not evenly distributed.” That’s true for so much economic activity that is out there – especially the English language learning sector. Imagine when all the pent up demand for English language learning could easily be met through quality affordable, online practice? That’s where EnglishCentral is headed. We aren’t a cure all (there is much more to language learning than just what we offer) but we are providing a practice arena that offers help and quality learning for so many. Where once students had to spend a year or two minimum overseas in an English speaking country at great expense – they now have an alternative, at a fraction of the cost. This is disruption.