From Institutional Education to Scalable Experiences

Generation C will move from investing primarily in institutional education towards scalable experiences as a path to the career of their dreams.

I recently participated in my first hackathon focused on re-inventing business. It was a blast.

It provided an amazing scalable experience–what I learned and who I met transcended my current role, amplified my passions, and connected me with a cross disciplinary group of people of whom I would have never met apart from an event such as this. 

Hackathons aren’t springing up around the country because they are cool, but because they are scalable and a meaningful (albeit indirect) route to a meaningful career.

The value of education has been called into question by billionaire Mark Cuban. 

“College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing shows that a degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a football team) doesn’t translate into significantly better career opportunities, a better job or more happiness than a degree from a cheaper institution.”

You do not have to have technological expertise to lead or participate in a hackathon, or design a conference, retreat, or training time with the same elements and goals.

We are not far from a future where scalable experiences such as hackathons, side projects, and volunteer/service opportunities will be the primary driver of career advancement or change. The abundance of information and the ease in which people can find, mobilize, and collaborate with others has exponentially increased.

Those dependent on institutional learning modules and education to help them navigate this change might only find debt: either financial or in intellectual capital (your organization simply cannot innovate and learn at the speed of the those who effectively collaborate across organizations and disciplines.) You will be poor in knowledge relative to other organizations who leverage outside information.

“As an employer I want the best prepared and qualified employees. I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.”–Mark Cuban

If organizational lines have already blurred by digital media, collaborating across organizations and disciplines regularly is a serious threat to institutional education.