Thursday, July 5, 2012

I need your help: Any ideas on how to get my ideas implemented?

I am frustrated that my ideas have not been implemented, for example, my ideas on how to improve education, a field in which I have solid bonafides.

For years now, I've done everything I can think of to get those ideas implemented. I have presented them in my columns and articles in The Atlantic and Washington Post as well as on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I'm spoken about them in public forums, including at The Commonwealth Club, at my alma mater U.C. Berkeley, and on my NPR-San Francisco radio show.  I've sent them to many people with the power to implement them--for example, the biggies at the U.S. Office of Education.. I've written about them in my new book, What's the Big Idea? 39 Reinventions for a Better America.

I believe these ideas have greater potential for improving education than the traditionally proposed reduce class size, increase expectations, etc.:

Are my ideas simply unworthy? If not, do you have any suggestions as to how I might do a better job of getting them implemented?


Mark said...

Brings this to mind:

>JEREMY. Ay, more indeed for who cares for anybody that has more wit than himself?
>SCANDAL. Jeremy speaks like an oracle. Don't you see how worthless great men, and dull rich rogues, avoid a witty man of small fortunes? Why, he looks like a writ of inquiry into their titles and estates and seems commissioned by Heaven to seize the better half.

Yours is not a new complaint, Dr. Nemko, but I appreciate your work and I hope you keep it up.

Bill said...

I think to implement your ideas, it requires systematic changes.

It's always hard to go again conventional wisdom/establishment.

However, I think you have some great ideas, and they will be implemented sometime down the road. You just have to be patient -- there might be incremental changes/improvements until the entire idea get implemented.

This reminds of Jim Colins (author of good to great.) He said that he had a conversation with Peter Drucker. And Peter Drucker asked him if he wanted to be the person who try to change the worlds with ideas. I think you're that type of person. However, other people choose to be entrepreneurs or corporate executive, they choose more narrow way to make their impact (hopefully) in the world. It's just we have different gifts, and choose our own ways of leave our mark on the planet.

Robert said...

All your educational ideas, Dr. Nemko, seem eminently sensible to me; and I remain puzzled as to why they haven't achieved greater traction.

My sole theory to explain this - a somewhat lame one - is the notion that college education in the States hasn't yet had its "Wall Street crash" or 9/11 moment: its disasters have tended to be incremental rather than sudden and spectacular.

Very nice William Congreve quote, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Marty, I don't think you're the only one pushing to change higher-level education. There are several big-name entrepreneurs looking to make some radical changes. For example, Peter Thiel of PayPal fame has a fellowship in his name to pay 20 students not to go to college but rather pursue their dreams of starting a company, studying cancer, etc.

Concerning education reform could I maybe make the following suggestions.

1. Contact Peter Thiel to see how you could leverage off the momentum he's built to change higher education.
2. Contact Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford professor who runs online college courses through and see if you could maybe offer a course in education.
3. Narrow your focus to what changes are most important to you. Government, education and medicare reform are all issues you've written about but perhaps you need to focus on one and be the champion of a single issue in order to be most effective.

I don't know if any of that is helpufu but thanks for listening.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you all for your good comments. I contacted Thiel a while back. No response. I followed up. No response. But I'll stay on it. It's a good idea. Being unaffiliated, I have limited clout/credibility.

Anonymous said...

Marty, just one more thought (I'm the anonymous of previous post).

You probably already tried this but maybe you could get Peter Thiel on your show.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you. I did try. Twice--no response.

I am self-funding a mini pre-pilot of my Dream-Team-Taught Courses idea, and if the results are good, I'll go back to Jeff Raikes, the CEO of the Gates Foundation, and to Sue Harvey, the decisionmaker at the Bechtel Foundation.

Thanks so much for caring. I really want to make a difference.

Marty Nemko said...

And per your suggestions, I've now written again to Thiel and have reached out to Thrun. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

You've talked to the clubs, you've talked to the media...have you talked to the colleges?

Maybe you should take on some work as a college consultant. If they pay you to come in and give your thoughts, that seems like a much more likely scenario for people to use your ideas.

Also, I agree with other comments that you need to establish some of these things on your own, then bring them into education once they gain some traction. Maybe you could start a college scholarship program, or other grants to student program, and use the ideas you have. One example might be using grad students (most likely willing to do work for cheap/free and are responsible) who are looking for a project/experience to help implement your dream team online courses. I think the dream team online things would be good for say, underprivileged or gifted students. Start it as an after school programs- schools are always looking for new ways to target these two groups. Start small, maybe at just one school in the Bay area.

You clearly have good ideas, but you don't have them proven/tested yet. Start small with your tests, and re-adjust as necessary, then bring it to the big stage.

Just an idea.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you, most recent Anonymous. I've done much more than that. Re the higher ed idea, I've pitched the highest-level people in the higher ed division of the U.S. Office of Education, and Western Accreditation Commission, where I'm a member of their task force on higher ed transparency and accountability.

Re the reinvented general education, I've done similarly, plus spoken to a couple of provosts at the University of California, Berkeley and one at a California State University. No real interest.

Re Dream-Team-Taught courses, I'm self-funding development and evaluation of a mini-pilot this fall. If the results are good, I'll try to get Gates, Bechtel, USOE/Title I or Calif. Dept of Ed. to fund a fuller pilot.

Scholarships are the worst investment period--they rarely allow a student to attend college who otherwise couldn't. Mainly it allows the college to say, "Good. Nemko gave Student X the money. Now we can keep the money for ourselves."

Thanks though.

Milt Anderson said...

I would suggest that you perform an analysis of what your assumptions are and of what the core motivators of those you need to convince. My guess is that your assumption that those in leadership/power positions want to dramatically improve the system is incorrect. Their core motivators are possibly: Self preservation, self enrichment, need to save face, maintain reputation, protect personal interests .. etc It seems that the great idea folks frequently are lacking in the understanding what really motivates people and in the variation from your own assumptions therein.

Marty Nemko said...

Apriori, Milt, it would have been hard to believe that even a small percentage of leaders were so narcissistic, but I'm coming to believe that it's true for many leaders, but I still hope, not most.

My plan is to keep cranking away on these ideas and see if I can find a more eminent and well-connected champion to append to.

One reason I've failed is that I am not social, hate schmoozing, joining organizations, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am new to education - started out my career as a nurse, and have gone on to get a Master's and now teach nursing at a technical college. As a "newbie" coming from the private sector I have seen a definite desire to protect the status quo among teaching colleagues across all disciplines. Your ideas to reinvent education are great - but that reinvention scares the heck out of most educators.

I would say to keep it up. There are cracks in the conventional wisdom beginning to emerge.


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