My #Educon 2.5 recap – part 1

#Educon Friday Night Panel at the Franklin InstituteBefore it all becomes a blur in my mind, I wanted to put some of my notes on (digital) paper to remember some of the lessons from Educon 2.5. I did not capture a play-by-play of what happened, so I’ll do my best to recall what struck me as important (or at least what made it to my Evernote notes and Flickr pictures), and before Twitter stops indexing #Educon tweets.

During the Friday night panel, many interesting quotes drew my attention. The overall topic was “Hacking Entrepreneurship”, but the discussion covered a lot of topics related to education. Coming in from a different perspective, Captain Barrington Irving came up with a number of interesting points regarding education:

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Jeff Pulver, Founder of Vonage and early-stage investor, also moved the audience more than once with his self-disclosure of how his childhood was difficult because he didn’t have many friends, and how finding his voice through ham radio was a big step for him in becoming who he is today. He also shared his story of how he lost a lot of weight, and how his life has changed since that process has started.

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Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan, Director of Academic Innovation and Senior Fellow at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, reminded the audience of the need to take a hard look at the market and competitors when attempting to innovate, to see where your product or service will find a fit (the business fundamentals, really). She also emphasized the idea of having access to test beds and sandboxes to allow for innovations to benchmark themselves against the market.

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Dawn Hancock, Founder and Managing Director of Firebelly Design, introduced us to her vision of what role design can play in social change and education. This Fast Company article summarizes her view on the topic, including some information on Firebelly University.

Firebelly University is a nine-month program in which individuals band together to run a business with our guidance and support. Monday through Thursday, Firebelly U fellows learn everything about running a small business that no one ever tells you and a few things that can only be learned when you’re actually doing it. Friday is reserved as an education day, filled with inspirational speakers and workshops run not only by business owners, but lawyers, accountants, and peer mentors.
At the same time, each fellow is developing and implementing his or her own business plan under the guidance of the dean and others, and at the end of the nine months, their new businesses are hatched.

I’m am not 100% sure what people have gotten out of the panel discussion, but if you have a “knowledge nugget” that stood out for you, share it as a comment!


P.S.: I’ll make an effort to continue reporting some of my #Educon25 experiences later this week, so look for part 2, 3, etc.

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