Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Different Kind of ROI

Return on Imagination?

It's a thought. We all know return on investment -- we invest x and the return is y. Finance loves ROI -- especially when it is increasing. It's measurable (most of the time), can be adjusted, adapted, and redirected.

So, what is Return on Imagination?

Over 700 million iPhones have been sold since they were first introduced. We can look back and take into account product development costs, marketing costs, and other costs to determine the full return on investment. Then, we can look specifically at marketing and determine individual channel returns -- did tv outperform digital? What was the ROI for radio? Etc.

However, without Imagination there would be no iPhone to sell.

In fact, without Imagination there would be no:

Personal computers
and the list goes on and on.

Much of our time is focused on return on investment but we tend to forget the role Imagination plays. Imagination opens the doors to the need for measuring investment. Where would we be though without Imagination?

My concern today is in the realm of education we are spending too much of our time thinking about return on investment, and spending far too little time on Imagination.

We seek ways to measure student performance, then explore ways to improve it. We introduce a new nationwide curriculum, designed in some part to give us a similar foundation to measure results. Then, we introduce new legislation to change what we measure, how often we measure it, and what we need to do to invest in the education of our youth.

Where does Imagination fit in? Who in the world of education is introducing to us the iPhone for the very first time? Who is bringing us the telephone for the very first time? Who is building a new mode of transportation to replace the horse and buggy?

We need to have the dreamers in education. We need to allow Imagination to be of equal importance as Investment when it comes to education.

In fact, we need to encourage more Imagination. It's a different kind of ROI which requires a different way of thinking.

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