Creating a Self-Sustaining Edtech Solution
Self-sustaining edtech solutions are the goal for most edtech entrepreneurs. With investments that neared $10 billion in 2017 alone, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs still are turning to edtech. There are plenty of people who recognize the immense profit edtech promises, especially if it promises longevity in the marketplace.
Sustainability isn’t just for investors hoping to get rich. True edtech sustainability makes a difference in the lives of learners. Achieving this level of long-lasting effect in education can feel as elusive as finding a unicorn.
If you think your edtech solution is the next education unicorn, you must be sure that it focuses on process, players, and patience.
It’s the process, not the product
Not every edtech solution is destined for sustainability – or even success. Sensational edtech products aren’t about the technology. They’re the result of producing transformational changes in learning outcomes.
The most enduring products share common traits. First, they are simple to use. Teachers and students are willing to try the product. In turn, the edtech product while encourages responsible risk-taking in learning. The product also must be applicable in many different situations. Finally, it must be sustainable.
Everyone has a role to play
Sustainability comes from others who use and promote your edtech product. No edtech initiative will be sustainable without a team approach to driving its success, Eileen Belastock advises that influencers in education consider five critical behavioral components to enhance the longevity of edtech solution. Leaders must:
1. Model – education leaders must demonstrate a willingness to use the technology themselves.
2. Listen – Finds out what users want the technology to do. Sometimes what the designer thinks educators want isn’t what they need in their classrooms.
3. Recruit – Every edtech initiative needs champions. These are the teachers who use and promote the product.
4. Showcase – If a rock star educator is using your edtech solution and producing stellar results, put that teacher in the spotlight.
5. Outreach – Talk to other leaders, whether they are in other schools, districts, or states. Applaud the novel ways in which they use edtech, and again, showcase their efforts.
When others promote your edtech solution, celebrate them. They are the ones assuring sustainability. Collaboration makes technology sustainable.
Allow yourself time
If you’re seeking sustainability for your edtech product or service, know that it won’t happen overnight. Creating sustainability takes time.
It can be challenging to develop patience in taking an edtech idea through its paces. Business plans and research require ample time. So does product creation. From there, you have product testing, revisions, reviews, and marketing.
You are the best judge of how long the journey from startup to sustainable will take, but be ready to commit the time it needs for implementation. Many edtech entrepreneurs give up long before they reach sustainability. It isn’t that the product failed. The producers felt they were out of time.
Put your investments and your heart into three areas: encourage the process, recognize and celebrate the players, and practice patience. It is possible that you will be that unicorn in the edtech solution industry.