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Opinion: Disruptive innovation needed in higher education

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“Disruptive Innovation” is a buzz phrase that is running wild through the world of entrepreneurship these days, says Dr. James Nolan, president of Southwestern College. There are Disruptive Innovators discussion groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Though president of Southwestern College, Santa Fe, I am a card-carrying member. What is disruptive innovation? It may be more elucidating to start by naming some of the disruptive innovators of our era. Apple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman. Then there’s Facebook’s Mark Zuckerman, Skype’s Nikklas Zenstrom and Paypal’s Peter Thiel. These guys (used loosely) never believed for one second that there is nothing new under the sun. Disruptive innovators are insanely creative. They are, by definition, rule-breakers, and so almost invariably end up as entrepreneurs. They have to set their own rules, or create a world in which there are no rules. Richard Branson and his rocket ships. Like that…

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