Want to Make it in The Edtech Sector? Try Creating Original Products
With a marketplace bursting with “innovative” products, the death of many edtech companies is because their product is not unique enough to compete. This is not to suggest that entrepreneurs are not forward thinking but that their products are too similar to products that are succeeding or already have a strong user base. Investors are unlikely to invest in products that do not stand apart from their competitors and administrators will not be interested buying products that they essentially already own.
New edtech companies need to do their homework and ensure that their products do not mimic other products and that they offer something new. This is an essential factor if their products are to be a success. Edtech entrepreneurs who come from the tech field and have never been in a classroom don’t understand the unique needs of classroom teachers. They can’t imagine how students will use certain devices or apps. They can’t foresee the problems an innovative technology might create. They are not experts at figuring out what helps students and what students will misuse.
To create original edtech products, you need the input of teachers and students
Products are usually a response to an identified need (whether real or perceived). The question is did the company take the time to work with teachers to ensure that the product addresses their concerns and needs, or did the company decide to tell teachers and educators what will work best? If the answer is the latter, you are probably going to be spending a lot of time working on things that are either redundant or unnecessary. If the answer is the former, the product is much more likely to solve problems specific to the educational field. If the company relied on research alone, you have about a 50/50 chance of the product meeting your needs. Ultimately, the best products are a result of listening to the people in the field.
Therefore, edtech entrepreneurs need to develop original products with the help of teachers and students. How can you accomplish this? Develop focus groups around the country that can be used to gather ideas for new products. Teachers and students will have no problem giving you their honest opinion and telling you which products they want and need. All you must do is listen and develop original products that respond to those needs.
Who knows your next big product could be birthed by simply sitting down with a veteran teacher and asking the question, “What is your classroom’s biggest need?” That question alone will begin a brainstorming process that could change the landscape of not just their classroom, but all classrooms.