Bounce back, I’d rather leap forward
12 June 2021
As the G7 meet just down the road from CarringtonCrisp's HQ in Cornwall, co-founder Andrew Crisp reflects on what the future holds.
The G7 are meeting just down the road from where I live in Cornwall and where CarringtonCrisp is now based as a company. Much of their agenda will be dominated by COVID recovery and I keep seeing headlines about how we need to bounce back, but I don’t want to go back and bouncing isn’t going to be easy. I would much rather leap forward.
There’s a risk, a leap might be a leap into the dark or the unknown, but both seem better options than going backwards. For those of us fortunate to come through the pandemic physically unscathed, the next few years represent a great opportunity. With a teenage daughter, I am even more determined to leap forward to a better world.
In the early days of the pandemic much of the rhetoric was based around ‘war’ and about fighting the virus. After World War II, the UK leapt forward. My parents generation may not have seen it at the time as they continued to live with rationing for many years, but the creation of the National Health Service was undoubtedly a leap forward, a leap into the unknown. A leap that almost everyone in the UK has had some reason to be grateful for in the last 75 years.
So in higher education, in business education in particular, the sector I work in, what might a leap forward mean?
First and foremost, I think it means business not being seen in isolation. Business is about people, about communities and about the impact it has on all our lives. It’s about resources and the use of often scarce resources, it’s about impact on the environment and it’s about contributing to solving global problems to ensure a better future. Business education needs to have a wider agenda, for students to see the context that business works in, to understand its impact on the wider world and act accordingly.
Second, business education and higher education as a whole needs to think how it best delivers to individual learners rather than simply offering a one-size fits all approach, how it embraces diversity. And there are signs of this already happening. Greater use of technology to offer flexible learning, to provide content that meets particular needs rather than what’s convenient for the group and support that helps each student get the most from their studies, maximising the value that is added by learning are all part of the future.
Third, learning needs to become a journey rather than an end. An undergraduate degree should be a starting point, perhaps for a leap forward, but there will be more steps and leaps ahead. Providing opportunities, not necessarily more degrees, but other learning that is recognised by employers, that helps people remain in employment, that advances careers and takes them in different directions, all of these opportunities for lifelong learning need to be embraced.
We often tell our clients that we help business schools and universities change, perhaps we should say we help them leap forward.