As this week comes to a close, I am very much refreshed and recharged after spending several days among the world’s leaders in business, economics, education and government at the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s meeting was focused on political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations resulting in an entirely “new global context” for decision-making. For me, this theme hit close to home as the education industry is undergoing an overall shift in culture and technology. Similarly, Cengage Learning is amidst a cultural transformation of its own to enable the creation of cutting-edge digital innovations for teaching and learning, while operating with a renewed and heightened focus on the student.
I will be participating later today in a panel with other leaders in education to discuss ideas for reshaping education to enhance quality, relevance and accessibility of education worldwide. When you examine this charge, it is clear that all parts of the education ecosystem need to be reshaped, including the companies that serve students and faculty.Over the past two years, every aspect of Cengage Learning’s strategy, business model and culture have been completely overhauled from old-school textbook publisher to include new ways of working that truly look, feel, sound and act like a tech company. Along with changing the business model to be more student-centric, we are restructuring teams to streamline innovation and product development. We have education experts working side-by-side with software coders and student engagement experts to develop platforms and tools, and are actively recruiting tech experts from a range of backgrounds to bring innovative ideas to the table. All of these efforts have one goal: to re-invent how college students, and adults seeking to be retrained and re-engaged, learn and prepare to succeed in the workforce.
I’m encouraged that in a time charged with political challenges, and in some cases economic and social unrest, global leaders recognize the importance of education and are committed to working together to find solutions to improve learning. The spirited discussions on the future of education and issues around information sharing facilitated by the World Economic Forum will be valuable as we all evolve to meet the changing needs of today’s students.