The Guardian homeEmbracing failure in management, learning and teaching allows for creative approaches to problem solving, says Nick Petford.
The year is 2025 and the following is an account of how the UK higher education sector fared following the 2012 fees rise, a period now referred to euphemistically as 'the era of continuous deferral': "Many universities were confronted with disturbing symptoms, which could not be remedied by available management techniques and which had no precedent in recent experience. For some universities the market demand began to level off and could not be restimulated even by the most energetic marketing and promotion. For others the demand began to decline in the face of substitute products offered by new technologies. Still others saw their traditional markets invaded by vigorous foreign competitors."
Believable? I think so. Yet these words were actually written four decades ago to describe the situation faced by big US corporates (coal, motor, steel) in the face of unprecedented competition from overseas. All I did was substitute 'university' for 'firm', a heresy sure to lose some readers – but stay with me. The author was Igor Ansoff, ex-vice president at the RAND corporation, maths graduate and distinguished business school academic. More...