It is a fascinating and exciting time to work at the center of both education and technology.

There are few jobs in the world that I could imagine to be more rewarding than working closely every day with teams to build great technology designed to help enrich people’s lives. Effective educational programs that leverage platforms such as Blackboard’s and are powered by passionate educators help lift people out of poverty, help parents ensure that their children’s lives will be richer than their own, and generally make the world a better place.

Institutions around the world are growing and changing at a breakneck pace to serve the underserved. The era of the “traditional learner” is gone. Costs continue to rise unsustainably both here in the U.S. and around the world. Technology is also moving faster than ever. Powered by the cloud and worldwide collaboration, software engineers are inventing new ways to build software more quickly, more reliably, and deploy it globally. Every day new, more powerful tools are introduced that accelerate how quickly an idea can be developed into useful software. This makes it a particularly exciting time to be at Blackboard because both education and technology are constantly changing and the need to consistently bring innovation to market is more important than ever.

Considering the pace of change, our continued call at Blackboard is to adapt and grow to meet and exceed our users’ needs and expectations.  Innovation is at the heart of who we are, and we want to make sure we are organized to take advantage of the pace of technological advancement to more quickly address the rapid changes we are seeing in education. So, in support of Blackboard’s mission to partner with clients in a time of immense change, we are investing in capabilities that will allow us to quickly harness these trends and rapidly explore, select, and develop innovations into new products or capabilities.

Specifically, our structured innovation programs will:

  • look broadly at the educational landscape to identify emerging needs
  • work both internally and externally to ideate possible solutions to those needs
  • incubate and iterate on these ideas
  • identify the most promising and meaningful solutions for further funding and productizing

These are activities we have always conducted, but we want to move even faster. What we’re changing and where we are investing is in formalizing a world-class process for capturing and prioritizing these ideas, as well as building a dedicated incubation team to allow us to explore these concepts more deeply.

Our incubation team’s mission will be to cultivate ideas and develop them into something real – something that we and our stakeholders in the community can see, interact with, and truly understand. Together with clear business plans, these tangible expressions of new product ideas will help us choose the best new capabilities and products to further invest in to grow new markets, disrupt the status quo, or otherwise make big changes that ultimately lead to greater learner success.

I’m really excited to help build this team, and I am looking forward to seeing how these innovations can impact people’s lives.

By the way, if you’re a curious, capable designer or engineer, and you are also excited about this initiative and like to move fast (or know someone who is), we’re hiring in Austin!

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