Innovation in School Models, Part 2

February 6, 2013

Before wading into the heavy matter of independent school business models, I did want to share a great moment from assembly this week. Below is a clip from Jeff Candura’s  fun and engaging presentation  about creativity which ended with a mass paper airplane ‘make and throw’.


Now, down to business. My last post dealt with indicators of structural change in the private education market.  This second installment addresses Gould’s response to the challenges.

What is the new business model if people are saying it’s broken?

Gould is in excellent shape today and has benefited greatly from the sort of creative and integrative thinking exemplified in the On-Snow Program. This way of thinking is our most critical  tool in meeting the challenges ahead and involves consideration of several moving parts.

  • Demand – Program excellence, innovation, and marketing that deepens demand for current programs and creates programs that expand demand into new areas.
  • Non-tuition revenue – Services and products that leverage our campus, location, and multiple areas of expertise will become a significant budget element.
  • Philanthropy -The post-2008 world is different, but our ability to inspire philanthropy from our core constituents (alumni, parents, and friends) and from new institutional and corporate sources will continue to be  an excellent measure of our ideas and critical funding source.
  • Efficient use of resources.

How do we do this?

Every school has a unique set of assets, e.g. people and skills, facilities, technology, partnerships, creativity, and geographic features that can be combined to generate opportunity.  Our job is to see and execute opportunities in our assets.

What if?

Music. What if we developed a destination music program that leverages the power of being an official Steinway school, our 400 seat and 80 seat performance venues, distance learning, and proximity to Portland, Montreal and Boston?

Science. We have a farm and a premier science building. What if we combined this to create notable veterinary science experiences/programs?

Summer. Our campus has great potential. What if we offered  experiences involving ESL , athletic conditioning and skills  (e.g. Nordic, cycling, skateboard, ride, and ski), veterinary science, and design and innovation?

Creativity and Innovation.  We’re currently developing a design and innovation lab that will have cutting edge tools including a 3D scanner, large format 2D printer, 3D printer, CNC router, and top-flight software for product design, architecture, graphic design, music production, animation, and a host of other applications.

The ‘what ifs’ never end with this kind of facility.


Visual Arts Department Chair Lauren Head and Andy Rosen of the Maine Fab Lab talk arts and innovation.


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