Summary of Scenario B: To Each Their Own

Closed sources of learning & rapid change

The Only Port

Closed sources of learning & rapid change

Technological and social changes are managed by gatekeepers—governments, schools, large public and private institutions. 

Higher education uses its size, scope and position to block out external partners from trespassing on its patents, proprietary practices, and intellectual property.  Protecting the investment on research and development means does not imply a slow transfer of technology, but rather a new competitive model where high education institutions share less among one another as they seek to convert their intellectual property into economic value. Educators, researchers in particular, who are now seen as intrapreneurs, take models of academic-economic cooperation to new heights.

Credentials become essential passports to opportunity. The economic gap between those with credentials and those without widens.  Not all credentials are created equal—the value of the degree or diploma depends upon the institution that issued it, in the context of the institution that is evaluating it. 

Institutions with access to technological innovation take the opportunity their prestige affords them to “colonize” less enriched institutions, establishing “branches” that trade on the reputation of their larger entity and provide both cash and a steady flow of new talent into the more selective home academy.

The pace of change is such that other sectors find it hard to keep up, save those few institutions with the resources, scale and the wherewithal to commit to continuous change and innovation.  Those who can adopt emerging technologies grow larger, always at the risk that they could become too large but they become increasingly dysfunctional as management practice often fails to find their right balance in the chaotic technical environment.  To guard against this, institutions apply technology to compartmentalize practice while keeping technical information unrestrained least they miss a serendipitous opportunity to transform discovery into profit.

Businesses and institutions become simultaneously larger and more isolated. Consistent standards for technology, information, data (which is in many ways the currency of the day) and intellectual property laws, prove harder to enforce as each large entity moves further down the path of its own proprietary approach.