Why Airbnb Encourages Employees to Predict Its Own Downfall

What will lead to the downfall of schools?

Here’s an organisation that asks its employees to try to predict its downfall:

Inside (Airbnb’s design lab) there’s a Post-it Note with a small doodle of a sharp knife, along with the words airbnb killer. An employee jotted that down on the sticky and glued it to a large black poster board that details the next-­generation prototype of the service–one that (CEO Brian) Chesky says would “disrupt Airbnb” if a competitor were to introduce it today. He wants his team to beat rivals to innovations.

What if schools were regularly ask to predict what was going to make them irrelevant? Would it encourage us to engage with disruptive elements more quickly? What would they be? Rich, interactive, personalised experiences provided by the web? Mobile device-based, location-aware learning?

Or, if we could clearly identify the things we do that are out of step with what students want or need, would we get rid of them sooner? What would these things be? Teaching from the front? Teaching things that interest teachers but not students? Teaching most (or all) students at the same pace? Teaching inside classrooms and not in the real world?


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