What innovation really means (and how to do it)

 

Innovation is a term we hear a lot in today’s tech-driven world. While there’s no doubt people know it’s an important part of remaining competitive – both now and into the future – understanding what innovation actually means and how to apply it within your own business context can be difficult.

Last year ReadyTech was named among Australia’s leading tech companies at the Australian Growth Company Awards. One of the key criteria was innovation. While we don’t talk a lot about it, innovation has been part of our DNA from the very beginning. It’s just part of how we operate.

So what is innovation, and how do you do it well? Here’s a few home truths we’ve learned that we think could help you whether you’re in education, or you’re just trying to build a better business.

  1. 1) Think about thinking differently


We think the term innovation is too easily connected with the world of cutting edge technology. While we’re a tech company and we’re excited about the benefits market-leading tech can bring to both educators and businesses, the innovation equation involves more than tech alone.

In essence, innovation is about being able to think about how to do things differently, about how to do things better. It’s about doing things in a superior way to how they’ve been done before.

That doesn’t have to be about technology. It could be about the way you structure your organisation, the way you engage your people and teams, the way you set up your work groups, the way you support your customers, or the way you price your products. All these are open to innovation.

Innovation is a fresh way to look at how you do things that is ultimately designed to give you an edge and to support you so that you are able to build a better business for the future. Simple, right?

  1. 2) Admit Moore’s law was right

Yes and no. The reality is that today, the pace of tech-driven change is accelerating. We can thank ‘Moore’s Law’ for that – it says computer processing power doubles every year or so. This has a cumulative effect which means ultimately you are getting an accelerating pace of change.

We think everyone today, whether they’re in the business of education or building a business, can feel there is a faster pace of change than five years ago, which is greater again than 10 years ago.

We don’t like the term disruption. However, the reality is there are many small start-ups and tech companies all over the world at the moment trying to innovate and basically change or offer a different model for every industry. This makes every industry prone to being disrupted; many have already been disrupted deeply, while some may have only been disrupted at a superficial level.

We truly believe that, unless organisations are open to innovation or adopting new ways of thinking and new technology, they could find themselves defunct in the future. This makes it imperative to innovate because the world is not standing still – in fact it’s moving a lot faster than before.

  1. 3) Use a blank sheet of paper

If you could take a completely blank sheet of paper, how would you reorgnise or rework your organisation today if you had the chance to start over again? It’s a difficult question for many organisations to ask, but it’s an important exercise. You might find you have many ideas, from how you work with your people to your product pricing. With a blank sheet, everything’s up for grabs.

There’s a few things that help ReadyTech with this process. First, any innovation you choose to make always comes back to the customers you serve. Everything has to come back to the problems you are solving for them, and how you can think about solving those problems better than you did before.

The second is making time. The only real way to drive innovation and get there fast is to have people dedicated to it, people working on it. Whether it’s forming small groups or bringing in fresh talent, they should be dedicated to it. Otherwise the risk is people’s time is eaten up with business as usual.

  1. 4) Don’t count your calories

Doing innovation isn’t easy. Sometimes, it’s a little scary. This is what Clayton Christensen called the ‘innovator’s dilemma’: as you look to innovate and maybe even disrupt your own business model, there’s a risk of eating into your own bottom line, threatening what’s made you successful.

The problem is that if you stagnate, if you don’t innovate, then someone else might do it for you.

Many people are uncomfortable with change – that’s a part of human nature. Fundamentally in our genes thanks to evolution we are creatures that take the easy option because it stops us from burning calories. That tendency translates into difficulty driving change within an organisation.

To overcome this, innovation has to come from the top. The leadership team needs to be very clear there’s an innovation imperative. On the other hand, you need to encourage ideas coming from anywhere. You need to build a model where anyone feels capable of bringing forward a fresh idea.

If you combine top down and bottom up you can go from calorie counting to a culture of innovation.

  1. 5)Learn fast from educated failure

From a ReadyTech perspective, there’s a few things that have made us successful at innovation. First of all, I think we do have a culture where ideas can come from anywhere. From a senior leadership perspective we’re always open to new ideas. We really believe that nothing in our business is sacred, that no idea can’t be changed, that anything can be improved, that anything can be better.

The other thing we’re happy with is the fact that it doesn’t always work. We’ve got a culture where it’s actually OK to fail, as long as we’re able to take the learnings from that. This means we can take small bets and look at the results to understand if something is working or not. What we don’t do is criticise people in the organisation who’ve made mistakes. To an extent they should be celebrated.

  1. 6) Do one (or three) things, not everything

Part of leadership on innovation is setting what’s been called ‘innovation intent’ by innovation consultancy Doblin – or a clear, measurable mission. One of the key aspects of this is to focus.

Imagine for a moment that you had a list of Doblin’s ten types of innovation in front of you [https://www.doblin.com/ten-types], from your profit model (how you charge) and your network (who you partner with or leverage within other organisations), to your channel (how you connect your offerings with customers) and your brand (how you resonate over your competitors).

What if you chose just three and did a deep dive into them with your team over the next 90 days? You might reimagine some key aspects of your business and come up with some genuine innovation.

  1. 7) Focus today on tomorrow

The main thing that has helped us innovate is that, at times, we’ve taken a step back, we’ve taken the necessary time out. That might mean clearing a couple of days and going into a room with your team and actually looking at where our sector and our customers will be in five years time and working backwards from there. This helps us design products and services that are applicable for tomorrow, not just today. We want to help our customers go on that journey with us and help them navigate that future successfully, and that is what guides us in a way that fosters innovation success.

Get ready for the flexible pay future of payroll

The future of employee payments is expected to be much more immediate and flexible, but what do employers need to know? ReadyTech sat down with Aussiepay and ePayroll general manager, Daniel Wyner, to find out what the brave new world of on-demand employee payments means for you.

‘Flexible pay’ sounds great, but what is it exactly?

Flexible pay – also known as same day pay – is the concept of getting access to your salary, your earnings, the money you are entitled to, when you need it. Instead of waiting for a pay run that is either weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, it’s saying I need to get access to that today.

So, if I’m a shift worker or I’m a casual worker, and I’ve clocked in and clocked out, and my manager has approved that I’ve done my job, why do I need to wait until my next pay day? I should be able to cash out now and get access to those funds when I need it.

That sounds like a big change to the way payroll works.

I don’t know that the way we are going to pay employees is going to change – it’s just giving them access to that pay earlier.

As an employer, I shouldn’t have to change whether I pay my employees weekly, monthly, or fortnightly. The whole concept of doing pay on a certain run is that, from an administration perspective, it’s easy to make sure that I can manage that process.

Flexible pay is about divorcing the fact that my employer does a pay run on a certain day from getting access to that money. So the whole idea should not actually affect the employer, it should just give me as an employee more access to the funds I’m entitled to when I need it.

Why is it necessary? Is anyone demanding this change?

This is such a new concept that no one is demanding it just yet. But if you think about the workforce, it is getting younger and younger. With Gen Y and Gen Z now coming into the workforce, they are almost trained for that immediacy based on the use of mobile technology.

For example, I was recently at the football and there was someone talking about their upcoming shift, and they pulled out their mobile phone to talk about when they were going to work.

It’s that type of worker that’s going to be saying, ‘Hey I’m working on this date but I also want to be able to go to a certain concert, and I have got a phone bill that I just don’t have the money to pay for just yet, so let me get access to a portion of my salary, and I’m entitled to get access to that now.”

Will there actually be advantages for employers?

Again, you have to consider the change in the type of employees out there. With Millenials and Gen Z coming into work, what’s going to retain them as employees?

I could walk down the road and get another job and earn $5000 dollars more. But if they’re not offering this as an employee benefit, then I am really going to think twice about leaving this organisation for another one, because I won’t get the same flexibility and I have to wait.

That value of that immediacy and the value of that flexibility is going to be far more for these workers than just a couple of extra dollars in my back pocket by the end of the year.

Which industries will get the most out of flexible pay?

It’s less about the type of industry and more about the type of employer you are. If you have a lot of shift and roster-based employees – people that clock in and clock out on time and attendance software solutions – then there is proof of when you started and proof of when you finished. Where it’s been authorised by your manager and there is trust in place it’s going to be easier to roll out.

It’s going to be a bit harder when you have salary-based employees, but there can be the right systems and processes in place; for example, you might only allow people to cash out 50 per cent of their salary or something like that to ensure there is the right management around it.

Is the outsourced payroll industry leading the way on this?

The payroll managed services industry needs to challenge itself to not just do things the same way they’ve always been done. As an industry, payroll hasn’t really changed much for decades. We’ve automated elements to make it easier, but that’s it. For example, we still have fixed pay day pay runs.

We’ve got to start thinking about things a little more differently and challenge ourselves a little bit more. With the advent of some of the big changes going on – the most significant one being Single Touch Payroll or STP, which is the single biggest change to the tax system since the GST was rolled out in Australia – we need to ask how are we truly adding value to our client organisations.

Do future-focused employers need to start adapting now?

The New Payments Platform will bring in a whole new way that transactions can be immediately enacted. My money will go from my account to your account straight away, and that instantaneous aspect will make life a lot easier. But the administration of that is going to be difficult.

That’s why you need the payroll providers to be able to come on board and offer this functionality. If I can log into my employee self-service portal or kiosk and, in the same place I historically apply for leave or get payment summaries, I can go in there and say I need to get access to my funds before the next pay day, and that’s enabled within the platform, then that will change the game.

Will Aussiepay and ePayroll offer flexible pay?

We’re investigating how we can help roll out these type of functionalities at Aussiepay, our managed services offering, and at eParyoll, our do-it-yourself payroll platform in the cloud.

For us it comes down to making sure we can transact the right way and not slow employers down. The last thing we want to do is say this is available but it’s going to be an enormous administrative burden. We’ve asked our clients if they are interested in this, and they are throwing their hands up and saying, ‘Hey, no chance if it’s going to be an administrative burden on us’.

We have to make it as seamless as possible, and you really only get one chance at it. So we’re going to do it properly. We’re going to engage with our clients to make sure that user experience is right, and that it helps them keep and retain their staff, because otherwise we won’t have a future either.

If you had a crystal ball, would the future of payroll be flexible?

I would say in the future we’ve got to have flexibility, because we’ll need to apply flexibility in the way we work to every aspect of our lives. We are immediately transferring data through a range of new technologies nowadays, and to not enable that in the way I access the earnings I’m entitled to, doesn’t quite move us to the future of work, and that’s where we need to be.

Behavioural Sciences: are they critical to the future of work?

There have been several phases that could be considered a “cognitive revolution” across the history of our species, but none have had as rapid an impact as the one we are experiencing right now.

Our ability to understand, predict and support how and why humans think and behave the way we do, has surged in the last decade.

The comprehension of human biases and our apparent lack of logic and predictability in many given circumstances is becoming informed by a plethora of inter-related fields. Psychology, of course, but also economics, neuroscience, anthropology, linguistics – all enhanced by the evidence facilitated by computing, such as big data and artificial intelligence.

It turns out that our unpredictability is increasingly predictable and the most modern of techniques suggest that our basest primeval survival instincts are behind almost everything we do in any given situation. One of the four key behavioural traits, for example, is laziness. Any call to action that requires us to be proactive and change the existing status quo is likely to be an uphill struggle. This is a basic survival mechanism. Simply put, for most of human history, the easier something is to do, the fewer calories we burn, and the more likely we are to survive.

Taking this behavioural perspective offers us the opportunity to reduce risk in decision-making. It is encouraging to know that governments are at the forefront of the early adoption of this science, to deliver policy outcomes for the betterment of citizens and their communities. Examples now abound, including organ donor cards and pension savings. If people are to proactively register, then take-up is low. But if you are asked to proactively “opt out” and the contribution to pensions or donating organs is the default, then take-up is measurably higher. Singapore has used an “opt out” system since 1987 and 97% of its adult population are registered donors. 36% of the UK’s adults are “opted-in” organ donors.

Of course, the appeal of not making a decision that delivers the wrong outcomes – which occurs with surprising regularity – is compelling. But the ability to deliver more outcomes, more efficiently (and, ergo, for lower cost) is also irresistible. Rest assured, commercial organisations can harness this science too.

Humans are full of contradictions. We know more than ever about how certain diet and exercise choices will reduce our lifespan, and yet we’re becoming fatter and less fit than ever. Our species has less disease, pestilence, murder and more affluence, sanitation and lifespan than ever before. And yet, high levels of anxiety, stress and depression seem to be spreading throughout our species like a contagion.

Whilst some behavioural science terms sound like inaccessible academic mumbo jumbo, much of what the science is delivering is simply bringing common sense to the fore, at the expense of conventional wisdom. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that putting a pair of eyes on rubbish bins makes people feel subconsciously watched, so they behave better and put more rubbish in the bins. Or that changing the colour of “buy now” buttons in online pages can increase sales, or that addressing someone by their name in text messages or letters increases engagement, or that comparing your home’s energy consumption to your neighbours prompts changes in behaviour. But we now have proof of these techniques and biases. Knowing how to improve communication and be more efficient is good for everyone.

A plethora of information is now immediately available through our smartphones and wearable devices. This isn’t frightening: it helps you to know that it’s about to rain when you leave the house, it lets you know how sedentary you’re being. It helps to dispel ridiculous exaggerations spouted as “facts” by the pub bore. However, it does come at a cost. We cannot help but check sporting scores, weather, emails, news and texts whenever we have a spare moment. We stop at traffic lights or go to the toilet…and our hands reflexively reach for our smartphone. The consequence of this? We aren’t giving our brains a second to relax and untangle and our ability to respond appropriately to any given situation is compromised.

We now know that meditation and mindfulness are not the “hippy-trips” that they may have seemed. There is irrefutable evidence that such moments to stop, breathe and calm the mind are absolutely essential in allowing us to cope and excel in this faster-paced world.

So, what are we doing to make best use of this knowledge? Well, we now understand which individuals are not really trying to get a job, why, and what we can do about it. We can predict who will drop out of education courses or apprenticeships early and inform mentors how to better engage with those students.

Behavioural Sciences at ReadyTech

At ReadyTech, we are at the forefront of harnessing the behavioural sciences to support stakeholders in the education and employment spaces. This apparently “disruptive” use of analytics, data and mechanised assessments has the potential to free us up to be more human. The Indonesian Government’s social services and manpower departments held a conference in February 2018 to review adopting such economics and technologies to “humanise human beings” with the techniques. And we can already evidence this aim by huge reductions in staff attrition in those using our behavioural science tools. We know how to provide the right interventions to support the right people at the right time.

So, this is a period of immense optimism. But we must remember to take a moment for ourselves. We must use the tools we now have available to us to realise efficiencies and free-up time to enable us to interact with each other, in person, more. There is nothing that builds resilience and wellbeing more than simply interacting with and being nice to other humans. Not artificial numbers in a bank balance. We are, above all else, social animals.

ReadyTech named one of 2018’s leading tech companies

ReadyTech has been named an Australian Growth Company Awards finalist, confirming its position as one of Australia’s market-leading technology companies.

The Australian Growth Company Awards celebrate mid-market business excellence across a range of sectors, judging entrants on criteria including financial metrics and growth, innovation, approach to people and staff, contributions to community and customer satisfaction.

CEO Marc Washbourne said being selected as a finalist reflects ReadyTech’s momentum over the last 12 months, as well as its delivery of best-in-class software for education and employment.

“ReadyTech has been on a gratifying growth trajectory for a while, and we think in a tech company it takes a culture of relentless commitment to innovation, agile thinking and business smarts to achieve and sustain success over time,” Washbourne said.

“While growth is a big thing for us, we’re also delighted that elements of our culture like our staff diversity, contributions to the community and high levels of customer satisfaction have been recognised.”

 

The growth equation

ReadyTech is the home of market-leading student management systems JobReady and VETtrak as well as intelligent HR and payroll systems HR3, Aussiepay and ePayroll. The company has continued to expand its footprint in the education and employment software markets in 2017 and 2018 through organic growth and the addition of strategically acquired capabilities.

Augmenting its student management system for education with cutting edge behavioural science capabilities, for example, has enabled educators to predict which students are most likely to drop out of courses, and respond with measures to support their engagement and success.

“We’ve been focusing on predicting where the education and employment sectors are headed for several years, and this approach, combined with our continual investment in product improvements, has grown market share by attracting new customers,” Washbourne said.

ReadyTech’s alignment with customer outcomes is another key ingredient in its success.

“In the education sector our tech is constantly evolving to help educators better acquire, retain, progress and engage with their students, while for our employer clients we are applying the same approach to help them attract, nurture and retain people in a world where there is a war for talent.”

The future of work

ReadyTech’s mission is to prepare educators and employers for the future of work. With education and work both being disrupted through advances in technology, customers are in a position to benefit from technology partners who are helping them stay ahead of the technology curve.

“We are seeing a step change in student and employee attitudes and expectations when it comes to work, as well as the way they are managed by education providers and employers. Getting out ahead of these changes before they happen can give customers an edge in a competitive market.”

Washbourne congratulated the other finalists at the Australian Growth Company Awards, including those that will compete with ReadyTech for the title of Technology Growth Company of the Year.

“Most of the largest companies in the world are now tech companies. There’s no doubt we need to support technology in Australia to be globally competitive in the future. We believe the recognition provided to the technology community by the Growth Company Awards supports a positive future for the sector.”

The Australian Growth Company Awards will be held on October 17 in Sydney and are co-sponsored by Hamilton Locke, Intralinks, Macquarie Capital, Deloitte, GlobalX, NAB Health and 2020 Exchange.

Announcing ReadyTech’s Voice of VET RTO Industry Australia 2018 Report

A survey of registered training organisations (RTOs), commissioned by ReadyTech, has revealed a snapshot of the who, what, where and how of a sector that expects continued growth this year despite challenges including compliance and community perceptions.

The Voice of VET RTO Industry Australia 2018 Report independently surveyed CEOs, directors and senior managers at 444 leading RTOs, who form part of a vocational education and training (VET) sector that trains more than 400,000 Australians into the skilled workforce each year.

“The report provides a unique insight into a sector that Australia relies on to provide the skilled workers of today and tomorrow,” VETtrak general manager Trevor Fairweather says. “A nation doesn’t build itself. The nation-defining infrastructure projects we are seeing across Australia like Sydney’s WestConnex or Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel require access to very highly skilled workers with VET qualifications. Giving this sector a voice through Voice of VET helps us all.”

The key findings of the Voice of VET RTO Industry Australia 2018 Report include:

  • 78% of RTOs expect to see revenues improve over the next 12 months
  • 63% report that revenues either increased or remained level in the previous 12 months
  • New growth is expected to come from expansion into ‘new markets’ (15%) ‘new products’ (10%) and through providing more online training (6%), rather than organic industry growth (4%)
  • Positive changes expected in the status of their RTO in the next 12 months would come from areas including the number of student enrolments (>70%), training and maintaining staff capabilities (>62%), and investment in IT systems and resources (>52%)
  • Fees and profit margins the least expected to result in positive status improvements (28-31%)

Among the biggest challenges expected over the next 12 months are:

  • Compliance administration (39%)
  • The community reputation of the VET sector (39%)
  • Issues related to government funding (36%)

Download the full Voice of VET report here.

ReadyTech features in Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winner’s circle

ReadyTech has joined a select group of Australia’s most innovative and fastest-growing technology businesses, after being named a part of this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winner’s circle.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 recognises public and private technology companies for fast growth based on a detailed assessment of their percentage revenue growth over the past three years.

ReadyTech’s ability to accelerate growth in the last two years following two decades of organic expansion means it has now been recognised as a rising star of the technology community.

“We’ve been on a different journey to many fast-growing tech companies today, with a history of profitable expansion in the education software market,” ReadyTech CEO Marc Washbourne says.

“Rather than seeking early-stage capital investment, our story is one of bootstrapping our operation all the way through and growing our customer base over time through a land and expand strategy. You could say we’re a 20-year overnight success story.”

A late-stage private equity investment from Pemba Capital has enabled ReadyTech to accelerate organic growth and strategically acquire capabilities in complimentary software markets over the last two years, including in payroll, HR administration, behavioural science and predictive analytics.

At the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards event on 15 November 2018, ReadyTech was honoured among other fast-growing technology companies that included fintechs Afterpay and PEXA.

“Australia is lucky to have such a thriving technology community. It was a privilege to be shoulder-to-shoulder with so many leading entrepreneurs at the Fast 50 Awards this year; with talent like that, I can only see the local technology ecosystem getting stronger in future.”

Washbourne thanked the ReadyTech team for their contribution to the company’s growth.

“We have a fantastic team of thinkers and developers that thrive on coming together to deliver better products and user experiences than our competitors in education and employment software.

“I look forward to working with them to continue our growth trajectory in 2019 and beyond, and thank Deloitte for their willingness to support the technology community’s best again this year.”

Breaking the straight line: Education remade for a non-linear life

Many of today’s students will live until they’re 100 years old. The questions is, are they ready to change their approach to learning, and are educators ready to walk a lifeline less straight?

Imagine you’re 100 years old. Born in 1918 when World War I was ending in the era of the Model T Ford , you would have waited until you were about 50 to watch TV, and 70 for the internet. You would have retired in 1983 – the year the first mobile call was made. Possibly with a gold watch.

While few of us are lucky enough to be centenarians today, progressive increases in longevity mean the numbers will increase in future. With more change set to happen in the lives of today’s graduates than in those of previous generations, they’ll need education and training that goes the distance.

From linear, to non-linear

In the recent survey and report, ‘Higher education for a changing world: Ensuring the 100-year life is a better life’, professional services firm Deloitte detailed how on average we are expected to live much longer in future. As a result, ‘one-time’ attitudes to education would be rendered obsolete.

With about half of the 20-year-old students in university or vocational education and training (VET) today expected to live to 100, the workforce is likely to see a parallel increase in participation rates in older age groups. Many people will still be working well into their 70s and 80s.

What does this mean for the traditional career? In short, it’s goodbye to the straight line.

Deloitte contrasts the traditional ‘linear life’ with the new 100-year life many of today’s students can expect to enjoy. In this model, we see the traditional three-stage ‘education’, ‘career’, ‘retirement’ life transforming into a multi-stage journey marked by a variety of careers, breaks and transitions.

The past involved a ‘single-shot’ dose of education followed by a long, continuous period of work and retirement in your 60s. This future will involve longer careers with a variety of endpoints, continuous changes in the nature of work undertaken, and a whole career that is a journey of learning.

Are individuals ready to walk into this brave new learning future – even if it’s not a straight line?

 

Individuals and lifelong learning

Deloitte surveyed 4000 Australians aged 18 years and over who are (or have recently been) in the workforce for their views on study. Over half (55%) were termed ‘study-interested’, having recently completed study, being enrolled in study or intending to study within three years. It found:

  • Enthusiasm for training and education wanes as we age and gain more experience in the workforce, despite the high proportion of people identifying as ‘study-interested’.
  • This attitude grows to the point where 75% of workers who did not complete study in the last three years don’t have any plans to pursue further study at all in the future.
  • In general, once we get to 35 our life commitments take over and study takes a back seat.

Deloitte suggests this means the ‘multi-stage’ life model is still in its infancy. The people who stand to gain the most from lifelong learning appear to be interested the least – with some way to go until 100.

 

The education individuals want

The majority of ‘study-interested’ workers are demanding education and training linked to their current job and industry context, in line with this persistent focus on a single chosen career.

  • 31% expect to see education providers collaborating with industry to deliver better learning content.
  • 68% think developing job-specific skills is relatively more important than obtaining a formal qualification.
  • Interestingly, 38% of those planning to study within three years will choose a course that is not accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework (up from 30%), in what could be an indication shorter courses (and the non-linear life model) is becoming more popular.

The merging of study and work extends to who should foot the bill. Another recent Deloitte survey of Millennials showed 39% expected employers – not society – to meet their education funding needs.

 

How individuals want education delivered

In the 100-year age where the shelf-life of skills learned may be as short as five years and life and work become increasingly complex, Deloitte’s survey showed flexibility and bite-sized learning are already showing strong demand from students – something expected to increase in future.

  • 78% of ‘study-interested’ workers want at least half of their learning delivered online, on the back of sustained growth in online learning and off-campus delivery modes like MOOCs.
  • Their preferred education delivery mode is a mix of online and in-person learning, if possible delivered in intensive ‘bite-sized’ chunks that fit around work and life commitments.
  • 46% were prepared to invest 3-10 hours a week, and only 25% more than 10 hours.

Australia’s higher education and VET providers can be reassured 78% of ‘study-interested’ workers are still willing to enrol with them in future, despite growing competition from exclusively online providers in some specialist industries and global providers in some professions.

 

100 years of wisdom

The Chinese philosopher Confucius only lived until the age of 72, but that was long enough for him to share more than 100 years worth of wisdom, including the following: “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.”

In an age of lifetime learning, those who live to 100 will have 218,000 hours at their disposal to dedicate to meaningful work, up from 124,000 for those who will live to 70. If he were alive today, perhaps Confucius would have added: “If you plan to live for 100 years, educate yourself.”

The question is, what opportunities exist for educators in the age of the 100-year life?

One answer may be the ‘lifetime subscription’ model. Imagine for a moment a tertiary education and training world that wasn’t so excessively geared towards the flow of undergraduates that have sustained universities in the age of ‘single-shot’ education. Adapting and evolving this model for longer and more flexible working lives, it would suit providers who can accommodate the ongoing learning and development individuals will need to traverse multiple careers and transitions.

 

The lifetime subscription

The lifetime subscription – or Knowledge-as a Service model – would deliver a lifetime of guaranteed quality learning and training from a trusted source post-graduation for a fee, rather than preparing students intensively over periods of three to five years for a perceived unbroken lifetime of work. Meeting the growing need for the ongoing learning and skills required to navigate a longer and more volatile work and life reality, it might look a lot different from the way education looks now.

Many tertiary education and training providers have the benefit of a vast pool of alumni, with more names being added to the list every year. While many students pass through education with the same mindset as educators – getting a qualification that will gain them a career for life – there is the potential to shift these alumni into a lifetime subscription mindset that will not only benefit them over the longer term, but also provide a sustainable business model for educators into the future.

What might the key characteristics of an education subscription model be? Here’s a few ideas:

Non-linear

A current and evolving library of specific courses and programs would meet a person’s changing education and skill needs as they develop and transition, with no ultimate ‘end point’ in mind.

Bite-sized

Courses would be delivered both online and in-person in shorter, more intensive formats on demand to ensure people could create space for ongoing learning within busy post-35-year-old lives.

Engaging

Education would need to be high quality, useful and engaging to ensure students not only gain outcomes from ongoing study, but maintain interest in learning while paying for the privilege.

Unboxed

Learners could follow unlikely connections across different disciplines, allowing things like leadership skills to sit alongside philosophy, or digital marketing to add a new dimension to a STEM career.

Networked

Online and offline networking and collaboration would deliver on a promise of connection with a vast pool of experienced and like-minded peers all seeking to expand knowledge and opportunity.

Everywhere

Course content would be fully enabled for a mobile and global base of alumni, who would be able to access the learning and expertise they require from anywhere, at any time and from any device.

Forever

A fee-for-access subscription model would allow tertiary providers to renew access monthly or annually on an ongoing basis, ensuring graduates could still be learning when they reach 100.

The lifetime subscription model is not the only answer to a longer lived society. However, if we are able to redesign education and training in such ways to meet the needs of tomorrow’s growing population of 100-year-olds, we’ll be able to ensure their lives are better, as well as longer.

ReadyTech Deloitte Fast 50

ReadyTech features in Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winner’s circle

ReadyTech has joined a select group of Australia’s most innovative and fastest-growing technology businesses, after being named a part of this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winner’s circle.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 recognises public and private technology companies for fast growth based on a detailed assessment of their percentage revenue growth over the past three years.

ReadyTech’s ability to accelerate growth in the last two years following two decades of organic expansion means it has now been recognised as a rising star of the technology community.

“We’ve been on a different journey to many fast-growing tech companies today, with a history of profitable expansion in the education software market,” ReadyTech CEO Marc Washbourne says.

“Rather than seeking early-stage capital investment, our story is one of bootstrapping our operation all the way through and growing our customer base over time through a land and expand strategy. You could say we’re a 20-year overnight success story.”

A late-stage private equity investment from Pemba Capital has enabled ReadyTech to accelerate organic growth and strategically acquire capabilities in complimentary software markets over the last two years, including in payroll, HR administration, behavioural science and predictive analytics.

At the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards event on 15 November 2018, ReadyTech was honoured among other fast-growing technology companies that included fintechs Afterpay and PEXA.

“Australia is lucky to have such a thriving technology community. It was a privilege to be shoulder-to-shoulder with so many leading entrepreneurs at the Fast 50 Awards this year; with talent like that, I can only see the local technology ecosystem getting stronger in future.”

Washbourne thanked the ReadyTech team for their contribution to the company’s growth.

“We have a fantastic team of thinkers and developers that thrive on coming together to deliver better products and user experiences than our competitors in education and employment software.

“I look forward to working with them to continue our growth trajectory in 2019 and beyond, and thank Deloitte for their willingness to support the technology community’s best again this year.”