In collaboration with EducPros, Prime organized last month a learning expedition for 23 executives from top French universities, Engineering and business schools, training organizations and high tech companies.

The themes for this 3rd edition were Culture of Entrepreneurship & Innovation; MOOC & Ed-Tech innovative solutions.

This total immersion week into the heart of Silicon Valley was an exceptional opportunity for the delegation to exchange with key players from the education industry.

Academic prestige and entrepreneurial character

The visit at Stanford University, one of the world’s leading research universities was highlighted with presentations and conversations at the School of engineering. The group learned about the interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving taught at the Stanford technology Ventures program and executive education programs.  The group also visited the School Institute of Design, the hub for innovators where students in engineering, medicine, business, law, sciences find their way to take on the world’s messy problem together – And StartX, the startup accelerator for Stanford students and Alumni.

Aside from its academic prestige, UC Berkeley (one of the most prestigious universities in the world) is also well known for producing a high number of entrepreneurs.  As the second oldest business school in the United States, the Haas School of Business is one of the world’s leading producers of new ideas and knowledge in all areas of business – which includes developing innovative business leaders, individuals who redefine how we do business by putting new ideas into action in all areas of their organizations.

The group also stopped by the Citris Innovation lab with its cutting-edge laboratories, and at SkyDeck, the university startup accelerator that gives students and startups the opportunity not only to grow their businesses, but also to launch and compete with industry leaders.

Technology is changing the education industry

During the week, the delegation had the opportunity to exchange with leading Tech companies, MOOCs and Ed-Tech startups.  They met with Shannon Hughes at Udemy, an online marketplace that provides over 3 million students worldwide with online courses on everything from programming to yoga, marketing to guitar, photography to cake decorating. – At Coursera, the CEO Daphne Koller welcomed the delegation to talk about online education and her social entrepreneurship company. Coursera works with top universities to offer courses online for anyone and for free.  HEC, ESSEC, Ecole Centrale are part of their growing number of French partners.

The group also discovered new innovative solutions during a startup demo day and networking event at PRIME. Talentoday, Educreations, Chegg … were amongst the startup pitch session.

The High tech giants play also a major role

The group went to Google and met with Michael de la Cruz, head of international education. His team collaborates with higher education and primary-secondary education institutions to achieve their visions and goals using open technology based solutions from Google. Among Google for education apps, the latest is “Classroom” recently launched in August. It has been designed hand-in-hand with Google Apps for Education teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.

At Oracle, the group met with Susan Beidler, Senior director of product strategy at the higher education development group. Susan is responsible for initiatives that contribute to adoption and advancement of Oracle’s Higher education ecosystem and the design and development of the student cloud product.

At Salesforce, Rob Lamb with the Salesforce University group presented the CRM solutions that provide integrated online sales force automation, customer/student service, support management and marketing applications customized for institutions.

Disruptive Innovation in Education

The visit at Autodesk, leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software was very well received by the group. The participants met with Dominique Pouliquen, Director of Market development who explains how Autodesk helps students, educators and casual creators unlock their creative ideas through user-friendly applications and broad portfolio of software. Autodesk recently changed its education business model, providing free access to Autodesk’s professional desktop and suites for educational institutions. This unique opportunity now allows educational institutions to freely access Autodesk software to empower educators and students.

At TechShop, Dan Woods, VP Business Development, describes how this community-based workshop and prototyping studio is on a mission to democratize access to the tools of innovation. Packed with cutting-edge tools, equipment and computers loaded with design software featuring the Autodesk Design Suite, TechShop offers universities, students and individual the space to make, and the support and camaraderie of a community of makers.

The group had a very inspiring visit at Singularity University. This teaching organization has empowered individuals from more than 85 countries to apply exponentially growing technologies, such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence and neuroscience, to address humanity’s grand challenges: education, energy, environment, food, health, poverty, security, space and water. Ann Rogan, Director of Global Development talked about their international activities and network of global ambassadors; Carin Watson who runs the Corporate Innovation exchange, presented the open innovation campus where large corporations can establish an innovation outpost to drive bold and disruptive innovation.