Powerful Answers Award Final Round

I spent time last week judging the final round of Verizon’s Powerful Answers award at their Innovation Center in San Francisco (the shot below is from their main innovation showroom).

Leaders from ten organizations around the world made the cut from just over 6,800 submissions.  Finalists came from Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas to present their ideas on how to transform education in our society.  The winner will receive $1,000,000, 2nd and 3rd place will each receive $250,000 along with each organization gaining extensive support from Verizon’s innovation and technology teams.

The winners will be announced in New York City in January 2015.  I’ll share more details on the winning ideas early in January.

View from the main floor of Verizon's Innovation Center in San Francisco.

View from the main floor of Verizon’s Innovation Center in San Francisco.

The #future of #textbook technology will transform #ed much like technology transformed #UPS and #Fedex and the transportation industry.

When I worked at UPS on their initial E-Commerce team at their HQ in Atlanta, I had drivers all over the country tell me they would never give up their paper delivery records for a computer to record delivery info and capture signatures.  Now,  I don’t know any that would give up their DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) without a fight.

UPS and the DIAD over the years

A visual history of the UPS DIAD from 1991 till 2013.

The same will be said about teachers and textbooks over the next decade.  The vast majority of school districts still use paper textbooks.  A decade from now the vast majority will use electronic textbooks only, that are always connected to the Internet, at school, at home, and everyplace in between. Paper will be nowhere in sight and be thought of by teachers as UPS drivers think of their old paper delivery records.

The article below from today’s issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights some of the initial technology changes in the industry as we take the initial steps to move from paper to a technology based education experience that will replace the textbook as we know it.

A change that has the potential to revolutionize the education industry much as the DIAD revolutionized the transportation industry.  When we started work on the DIAD our tag line at UPS was “UPS, we run the tightest ship in the shipping  business”, when I left after the IPO the tag line was “What can Brown do for you?”

Technology enabled a complete transformation  of how UPS thought of itself and its relationship with its customers.  The same transformation will revolutionize the education industry.  A revolution that has already begun.