What might "obsession" look like in school?

The idea of something like an iPhone seemed an impossibility before 2007.

The Razr flip phone? Yes. We expected slimmer and slimmer Razrs.

Blackberry? Yes. We expected better and better Blackberrys.

But a smartphone the size of a pack of playing cards—that you worked by touching the screen—was magic, not technology.

Until 2007.

As Burt Rutan is alleged to have said, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it is a crazy idea.”

12 years later iPhone growth may be slowing, but that magical device triggered an obsession in literally billions of people.

What would we do if we wanted billions of students to be similarly obsessed with learning?

Schools are not typical* businesses. But in most corners of the world, students are “consumers” of learning.

Consider this quote from Tiffany Bova’s Growth IQ, and imagine that it refers to a student rather than  consumer:

“CX [Customer Experience] is not an either-or decision; it must be a philosophy embedded into your company’s DNA. The reward? Loyal advocates who are willing to pay you more money for similar products, stay longer with you than a fly-by-night customer, and are much more likely to purchase from you again and again.

“Using a customer-centric approach to achieve growth is to drive customer obsession throughout the entire organization.”

For Bova, Steve Jobs, and many others, customer obsession begins with CX: customer experience.

If you are a classroom teacher, is your default frame of reference, “What do these learners need to know and do?”

Or is it, “What experience do I want these learners to have?”

What if your first goal were to induce an obsession with learning in your students?


[1] A school may not be a typical business, but it is a type of business. This doesn’t negate or diminish a school’s non-profit status. Still, schools are usually multi-million dollar operations with dozens (or hundreds) of employees and customers who are paying for a service. (And, to the point of this blog post, an experience.)


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Christian Talbot