Martijn Rademakers, Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Gratitude and credits go to Karina Burgdorff-Jensen (Aalborg University Business School), Martin Calnan (Ecole des Ponts Business School), Charlotte Bruun (University College Northern Jutland) and Gautam Mahajan (Customer Value Foundation) for their ideas that I have worked into this article. The content of this article and any errors remain the responsibility of the author.
Creating value is on the rise as a concept that helps to understand, describe, measure, evaluate and imagine the outcomes of what people, companies and institutions (should) do. Thus, the need for education in this field is also increasing. The idea of realizing a Creating Value Academy (CVA) was born in the summer of 2020, after evaluating the outcomes of the 3rd Global Conference on Creating Value (online, for obvious reasons, yet Paris-based) and building on initial ideas raised during the 1st and 2nd Global Conferences in Leicester and New York, respectively. Given the growing need for online education across borders, the CVA will start as an online learning platform. Physical forms of CVA education delivery and staff exchange have not been ruled out and are expected to follow after the online initiatives have been established.
A brief, initial analysis of the circumstances in which the CVA initiative emerged unveiled several factors behind the need for high-quality online learning:
- Online learning platforms are on the rise and fill a need for online access to relevant learning opportunities across a broad spectrum of disciplines and levels of education.
- Business schools and universities are increasingly making use of (and are driving) online learning platforms.
- Business schools and universities complain about losing students, data and revenue to the online learning platforms. This evokes the need for development of an online learning platform without those downsides.
- Business schools and universities complain that they carry the high costs of developing online content and courses, without seeing many returns – or even having to pay for their students to access the resources through the platforms.
- There are indications of a rising need among business schools and universities to offer a truly international learning experience for their students ‒ not just online courses.
- Educators from academia (professors, lecturers) and industry (guest speakers, opinion leaders, professors of practice) want to be able to deliver effective learning experiences online, without giving the fruits of their work (i.e., high-quality content) away to online platform companies
- Significant leaps in the acceptance, technology and skills for online learning have been achieved during 2020 due to the social and travel limitations related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result of these circumstances, development of the Creating Value Academy has begun.
However, the CVA does not start from scratch. In recent years, universities and business schools in various countries including Japan, Denmark, France, USA and the Netherlands have been working on Creating Value education programs. The origin of the idea to start an online, cross-border CVA emerged from the broadly shared need to offer students and practitioners from companies and institutions an international learning experience in the field of creating value. Box 1 presents the initial guiding principles for the CVA to hold on to during the development process that will ‒without doubt ‒ encounter many loops and diversions before arriving at the international learning platform envisioned.
Turning ideas into reality takes much effort, and the help and hard work of many. The people investing their time and effort in shaping the CVA come from the extensive international network of the Creating Value Alliance, with Gautam Mahajan as the key linchpin and inspirator.
Currently, two groups are working in parallel on developing Creating Value education propositions. One development team (Team Red) consists of contributors from a variety of universities and has a broad international scope. This team works on offers from a range of contributors using YouTube as a distribution channel. This strategy allows for rapid growth and a broad scope, driven by the underlying principles of an unfolding strategy (Haider and Mariotti, 2016; Quinn, 1980).
The other development team consists of professors from business schools in Denmark (Aalborg University), France (Ecole des Ponts Business School) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam Business School). This group (Team Blue) takes a more methodical and structured approach to CVA development, including mission setting, creating educational standards and building a common model to structure and position potential educational offers. Moreover, as little is likely to happen without securing funding, this group makes use of guidelines from European Union funds as a handrail for further CVA development. An application for EU funding is currently being drafted. In short, Team Blue follows the ‘strategic planning’ approach (Bryson, 2011). One can expect that the dual strategies for building the CVA will yield different outcomes, each with pros and cons. Eventually, the challenge is to find a synthesis: combining the best of both worlds (Prange and Henning, 2019) and avoiding the downsides