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Live from Summit 2013 – Innovation in the Education Market?

Coming to you from Summit 2013’s panel discussion “How the Education Market Will Kill Your Innovation.” We were excited to have Matthew Pittinsky of Learning in 2028, Jay Garlapati of DonorsChoose.org, Bill Jackson of GreatSchools and Marguerite Roza of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University joined by moderator Rob Mancabelli from BrightBytes for a spirited and forthright discussion on innovation in the education market space.

As Mancabelli puts it, “Every year there are thousands of innovations coming out, and every year thousands of them run into the brick wall called the education market.” So how can innovators with products in demand overcome this metaphorical brick wall? Are there treasure maps for navigating this space (a $600 billion market)?

Panelists Garlapati, Pittinsky, Jackson and Roza say yes.

First, when building out your innovation, make sure it fits within spending constraints and is targeted to become a permanent part of the school or district’s budget – and remember who actually has the budgetary control. Secondly, don’t forget the parents. As Jackson says, “higher levels of collaboration and motivation from parents can make structure changes” that can open the door to innovators. Third, figure out an alternative approach to reach teachers directly in the classroom – think outside the box. Finally, remember what is actually needed in the classroom and target your innovation to fill that most critical space.”

But what about the grant funding we all hear about? As innovators work to fit a need under state or federal grants such as Race to the Top or the School Improvement Grant, Roza cautions being making your innovation dependent on this type funding, “When the grant ends, you will be cut.”

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