Curating will soon be more fun than lecturing

Students bribe teachers. Already well known. But how about the opposite? Well, the most prominent management guru on the planet…Harvard-professor Clayton Christensen…actually suggest us to do it. Is he plain crazy? What if we don´t want to? Other solutions? This post provides the answer. It all comes down to curating. It’s an interesting growing profession.

Bribe our own students? An unexpected idea by a prominent professor at the Harvard Business School. Don’t make sense? Read more, it does.

I haven’t looked out for prof Christensen´s ideas lately. On YouTube I found the video below. I realized, had seen it before, 10 years ago, just re-saw it. But this time it struck me…he actually suggest us to start bribing students!

Clayton Christensen is “the man” that ones coined the term disruptive innovation.

Today everyone talk about disruption of industries, education included.

This small story in the video explain…

Christensen was ones asked by the CEO of Phoenix Online to record some off his ”best lectures”. He asked his own boss, the Dean at Harvard, what he thought about it. The Dean said: Well, as long as you don’t record it at Harvard Campus, I don´t mind. If you want to ruin your own life, go ahead.

Christensen did.

This video is worth watching, even though it´s pretty long and nearly 10 years old – actually; watch it partly because of its age. As a side: it was this video, when I saw it already year 2012, that made me register the url for this blog (why didn´t he?)

Phoenix Online rented a room at a conference center in Boston – close to a lake, great view. Then Christensen arrived.

Wouldn’t a lecture at a nice place be something?


Before starting his lecture, Christensen noticed; The students looked ”unusually good”. So, he asked what programs they were in.

Answer: None, we are fashion models.

Christensen then asked the CEO at Phoenix Online; what is going on? The Dean said: Well, people like you easily get a bit boring. But don´t bother. They will just sit there and nod politely when you get to hard parts.

Aha, said Christensen, and asked; How many will watch the recordings? The CEO said: our digital MBAs…like 135 000.

Oh, said Christensen; And I though Harvard was big.

Big investment. Low cost per person. High quality. Big volume. Scale economy.

A competitive strategy taught at all business schools around the globe.

Later on Christensen saw the final recording. Boy how good he thought that ”he” was. He never mumbled, never stumbled on words, the animations close to 3D. The students, not only looked good…they also seemed unusually interested.

Models payed, to sit and act according instructions…great students.

The interesting thing with this story is not that it´s true, even expected. The number of students that watch great recorded lecturers are already far higher than a couple of hundred of thousands.

The interesting thing with this story is neither that it gives a picture on competition. Who can afford that kind of production? Even if we could; would we know “how to do it”?

The really interesting thing with this story is instead…it’s already 10 years old.

It´s difficult to compete with a full-blown movie-production.

What to do?

Unless we are smarter than Christensen, or have something else relevant to say, and/or are able to make better videos than Phoenix Online…we shouldn’t even try to compete. We should use great existing videos instead. It´s actually not much different than when teachers ones started to use books written by others.

Curator is an interesting occupation. It´s a term used by people that don´t primarily spend time on developing their own material. Instead they use other peoples material. They still make a great living. Examples of actors that make their living on other peoples material: commentators, disc-jockeys, museum curators, reviewers, producers, playlist-creators … even Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Become better than others in finding, understanding, and not the least explaining, great videos made by others.

By the way….Disruption, what Christensen actually talks about in this video, and in his lectures; is still heavily misunderstood.

-> Learning Disruption, explained in a totally different, fun and extended, way

Take use of other peoples videos and make them “yours”. Develop your new role. Develop yourself as a curator. Develop a great living.

Share this clip with someone that perhaps have started to think about the future role of an educator.

When we bench-mark how curators work, a prosperous future becomes visible.

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