After lunch, Jeremy Gutsche took the stage. He has a standard type of speech called “Unlocking Cool”. For us, he bounced in a few extra letters and modified the talk to that we was talking about “Unlocking School”. The message really didn’t have to be modified all that much. Schools face the same challenges that businesses do. Get stuck with doing things the old ways or refusing to recognize progress and you’re not going to be in a position to meet the needs of your customers.
I really enjoyed listening to the story about Smith Corona, particularly since I owned a Smith Corona typewriter. I was not aware of the breakthroughs that Smith Corona was responsible for, but ultimately didn’t stick with it enough to remain viable in the business. The big message here is to not rest upon your laurels or you too may become the company that makes the best typewriter in a world that doesn’t use them any longer.
The second big message was about how success and change needs to be viral. It can’t happen by edict. It has to be something that winds its way through an organization in such a manner that everyone wants a piece of it. I reflected upon the SMART Board successes that we’ve been enjoying this year. This truly has been a viral implementation. It’s something that people know will change the way that classes are conducted and there’s no denying the engagement and motivation of students when a SMART Board is used properly.
The third message was that you need to lose like you enjoy it. Obviously, you need to be trying new things all the time and you’re not going to be hitting home runs all the time. But, unless you’re in there swinging and learning by your misses, you’re not trying.