Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Education Can Learn from Kodak

I love Kodak. As a long-time photographer I developed and printed countless roles of film in a wet-lab darkroom I put together in a closet. I sing along with Paul Simon when he sings "Momma don't take my Kodachrome away."

But the Kodak I knew and loved is gone. The film-making giant launched in 1935 went from 145,000 employees in 1988 to about 20,000 today because of the development of digital photography.

In a way it's not fair. One of the most beloved companies in the world that provided millions of "Kodak Moments" is tossed aside virtually overnight by a new technology. But they can't sit by wringing their hands and wishing for the good old days.

Kodak has had to remake itself to survive in today's digital world (left). Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak's CMO, (right) has one of the toughest jobs in marketing, and he's fighting the good fight with style, wit and determination.

Educators have to learn from Kodak and understand the need to change with the times. If we don't respond to the amazing changes taking place in our world today, perhaps we deserve to be sidelined and minimized in the pantheon of world leadership. Educators often see their job as preserving and passing on the past. Students have a need to change and adapt to survive in an uncertain future. Our perceived mission does not correspond with their need.

Educators must accept the daunting challenge to help prepare students for the world in which they will live, not the world we wish still existed.

Click on the heading above to see a video provided by AdAge.

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