Why International Education Needs More Innovation

April 26, 2016

By Mitch Gordon and Steve Moraco

The rise of high-tech startups and other transformative entities have dramatically changed how we do business and live our daily lives over the past decade. Uber changed the way we think about mobility. Airbnb changed the way we travel. Netflix changed how we watch TV. We’ve all seen firsthand how these important startups have fostered innovation and forward thinking.

Leading-edge innovation is affecting the world of international education as well. Take for example the emerging world of online education. Coursera, 2U, General Assembly, and others will impact the world of international education in ways that can’t be clearly seen at the moment.

So when we attend an event like the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo, one of the largest international education events in the world featuring the most-established players in the field, we often wonder, “What are we doing to support the small teams, the startups, and the less-established organizations?” The ones who have the bold, the silly, and the (sometimes) naive ideas. How do they find their place at NAFSA 2016 and the field in general? Their ideas have value. Remember, every one of those “game changing” new products or services started out as an unfounded idea about how the world could be made better.

If you wonder the same thing, then you should join us on Thursday, June 2, in the Career Center at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver. This session is intended for anybody in international education who is interested in innovation, whether they are a young professional starting out, an entrepreneur, a founder, an intrapraneur, or an established leader. All are invited take part as we explore how to make innovation a core component of career success and how organizations can be more forward thinking.

It’s important to note that every organization (and university, for that matter) was once a small organization supported by a few passionate employees who believed in their long-term mission, and supporting aspiring innovative organizations in the field of international education is no different. In fact, we would argue that it is essential to our mission of creating new international education opportunities for students throughout the world.

Toward that end, we are organizing The Innovation & Entrepreneurship MIG, which will endeavor to serve, support, and connect enthusiastic innovators, leaders, and thinkers of all ages and experience levels. To support this, please click here to sign our petition.


Interested in learning more? Join Mitch and his colleague Mallory Meiser on Thursday, June 2, from 3:00 p.m.-3:45 p.m., for their presentation, “Creating an Entrepreneurial Career in International Education: Innovating from the Inside,” in the Career Center located in Four Seasons Ballroom 4.


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