EDUCAUSE 2011: Seth Godin Encourages IT Leaders to Be Change Agents

The author and entrepreneur challenges EDUCAUSE attendees to enable the impossible at their institutions.

Seth Godin has made a name for himself by making things happen. In his latest book, Poke the Box, the author, blogger, entrepreneur and public speaker urges readers to take the initiative to take control of their own lives.

He’s lived the mantra by writing 13 books that focus on the ways people think about marketing, change and work and by founding dozens of (both successful and not-so-successful) companies, including Squidoo, a community site that allows users to self-publish pages on subjects of personal interest, and, more recently, The Domino Project, a publishing initiative powered by Amazon.

Godin opened this year’s EDUCAUSE conference, where the “best thinking in higher education IT” happens, with this bold statement: “I’m not interested in what’s next. What really matters is right now.” He also told attendees gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia that the “College–Industrial Complex” needs changing and that it’s up to educators to do it.

“You may not like this,” he said, “but public school was invented to create compliant, conforming industrial-sized cogs to plug into the industrial system.” The question, he continued, is this: “What are you going to do about it?”

As Godin sees it, doing something competently isn’t the point. “Competence is no longer a scarce commodity,” he said. Instead, IT leaders must “strive to be the linchpin: the one your institution can’t live without, the one who will be remembered 10 years from now for changing everything.”

No matter what, he said, educators shouldn’t be afraid to try something new, to “poke the box” and see what happens. “If failure isn’t an option, then neither is success,” he said. “Innovation is all about failing.”

For more coverage on EDUCAUSE 2011, visit our EDUCAUSE 2011 Coverage page.

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Oct 19 2011

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