Working out a school's competitive position even when it's not competing

Ewan McIntosh,, Feb 14, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

One of the nice things about my new position is that I've been receiving what amounts to a free MBA courtesy the training courses I'm taking as a Program Leader (it's not an official MBA, of course, because there's no recognition). I'll write about that more in the future. For now, I have had just enough learning to be a danger to myself and others, which is what leads me to criticize this discussion of the term 'value proposition'. In this post, it's depicted variously as "what you actually do compared to what you say you will do" and "what you do compared to what your competitors say they do." But it's neither of these. The value proposition is the benefit your customers or clients derive from your service. It's almost never your product. When I bought my car, for example, I didn't but 'a car' or even 'transportation'. I bought it to save time during work days, and to go camping during holidays. Schools are the same. We don't use school services to 'get an education' or even to 'get a job'. The value proposition is much more basic: we're looking for self-reliance, economic independence, and a rich and fulfilling life (or, at least, I am).

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