We were delighted to take the stage earlier this week to deliver the Marketing Plenary at the CASE Europe Annual Conference in Manchester. As well as presenting a 7 minute video slide-show of the next 7 years, all the way up to 2020 (from Hover Trains to Hologram TV), we took a longer, more measured look at the future trends already impacting on the education world. Delegates will be getting the full copy of our 10 themes, but for everyone else here’s part one of the highlights.

First, here’s the minute 7 flash through the future in 150 images…..

and now for education…

One: New School


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The 2020 horizon is populated by new twists and turns as HE is reinvented. New institutions have already emerged, ranging from the structure and scale of the MOOCs to the small and nimble Hyper Island. From the local, nomadic, low cost colleges to the aspiring Minerva Project – competing with Ivy League and elite universities at half the price. We went from the US to Finland, from Shenzhen to our host city Manchester. Amongst all this reinvention and innovation is the emergence of a new breed of corporate university and the opportunities and threats offered to marketers. Whilst General Electric’s Crotonville campus, often called its ‘leadership factory’, has been around for many years, we are now seeing an escalation of corporate learning on a much greater scale. The example we showed was from China: the rapidly growing mobile communications company Huawei has furnished 275,000 square metres of land with its own state of the art university, focused on developing the skills, attitude and culture that the company needs in the modern, competitive world. For many, this approach could become more important than traditional school leaver education as companies get bigger, broader, more powerful and more responsible. Definitely one to watch.

Essential for Marketers: The in-house corporate university offers competition and potential collaboration – both threats and opportunities. Explore what’s possible.

Two: New Course

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Having just shown a video of all the massive, rapid change the world can expect by 2020, it made sense to look at the challenge of how institutions must not only research for the future, but must prepare the talent for the future too. We looked at the obvious – the demand for renewable and nuclear energy; we looked at the fast risers – such as the expected explosion of the glass industry; and we looked at some industries that are still a speck on the landscape. Graphene is a great example. Discovered at the University of Manchester, and the winner of Nobel prizes for its inventors, graphene is potentially one of the stand-out materials of the future. Made from a layer of carbon one atom thick, graphene could be used to produce ultra thin, flexible mobile handsets that could charge in 5 seconds, filters for making seawater instantly drinkable, and a revolution in the healthcare and energy industries. So it’s good to see that almost 100 years since Rutherford first split the atom there, the University of Manchester is preparing for a different future by planning a Graphene Institute to lead the way for future research and education of talent.

Essential for Marketers: Course portfolios need to be designed to meet the demands of future industry, employers, students and of major global challenges (food, water and energy shortages).

Three: Edupunks

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The road to 2020 will see more and more opportunities for students to pick and mix their education. We have produced a number of reports on this – all available through our blog – and we used the CASE plenary as an opportunity to showcase just some of the most important trends. Labels have already been created – Edupunks, DIY Education and so on – but the essence is the same: it is now easier than ever to build your own higher education plan for the future. It is a brave yet compelling idea to forgo a traditional 3 year degree course to package up some hybrid learning, a 3 month MOOC course, a series of TED Talks, and a number of weekend bootcamps focused on specialist skills. And as these opportunities arise, so do the tools to help students take part. The fascinating Edupunk Atlas and the brand new Ranku search engine are just two examples education marketers need to know about.

Our final slide, featuring the rapid emergence of paid for global internships, really emphsaised the potential of this DIY approach. More and more companies are brokering internship programmes for students to work in China for 3 months and then to go on to spend time travelling, learning the language, and absorbing the culture with fellow learners. This could look fantastic on any CV and could work out much cheaper than many degree programmes in many countries.

Essential for Marketers: It’s essential to recognise the trends and look at why they are taking off. Answers could help determine new opportunities and differentials to compete with.

Four: Global Shifts

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Our plenary highlighted trends such as burgeoning African-Brazilian partnerships, the expansion and new reach of higher education in the Middle East, the US focus on Pacific nations such as Indonesia, and the increasing importance of tying education opportunities into policy and trade deals. Inevitably we turned to China to emphasise just how enormous the changes are.

Recent reports have quoted a Chinese investment of $250 billion in higher education. That’s $250 billion every year! According to the New York Times, ‘China has doubled the number of colleges and universities to 2,409 over the last decade; while the government also expects to produce nearly 195 million community college and university graduates by 2020 – compared with no more than 120 million in the US by that time.’

Essential for Marketers: Watch the new global partnerships and investments. The smallest of changes in China can have a massive impact on an institution elsewhere. Watch out for the new opportunities too in places like Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.

Five: Edtech

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At the half-way point of our plenary we looked at the rise of technology in education, and just what it means from a marketing perspective. We looked at how Google apps and Google Glass pointed to new teaching and learning opportunities and we explored the impact of Augmented Reality, including how it was being used to mock up reality in nursing training. As marketers, we shared a particular interest in how to maximise digital channels to make massive impact. We finished this section with a brilliiant example of how fundraisers and marketers at Columbia raised $6.6m in 24 hours by embracing every digital and social channel available. Do watch the video they used across their many platforms.

Essential for Marketers: New technology opportunities are everywhere. Embrace them, learn about them and be brave but also maintain the right core focus on objectives. You don’t have to do everything, just the right things, ensuring you make the biggest impact, as effectively as possible.

Our 2020 Education focus was built upon sharing 50 images of the future in just 25 minutes. We’ve just shared 5 with you. We’ll be sharing 5 more highlights in Part 2 soon – including a look at new trends in fundraising, leadership and schools engagement – and what these all mean to education marketers.

To find out much more about The Future Index, the HE marketing inspiration we are collecting and how it could be of use to you, please have a look at our main site, complete with more samples for you to take away and use. Simply click here.

Or check out some of our other posts on the Higher Education marketing communications world – from billboards in Peru to a tour of 80 apps around the world. And lots of social media sparks. Just click here.

Also, if you are interested to hear how the Future Index is about to share the latest inspiration and trends with the brightest, most motivated, up and coming education marketers, then email Jim directly (jim.tudor@thefutureink.com) and he’ll send you some details.

You can now stay ahead and follow this blog to receive the latest posts immediately by email. Simply scroll down a little and click on ‘follow this blog’.


3 thoughts on “Future Marketing CASE Study (1)

  1. Pingback: Future Marketing Lessons From The Future | Future Index Extra

  2. Pingback: Future Marketing CASE Study (2) | Future Index Extra

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