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Dynamic Duos

By Dr. Michael T. Wood, President, Capitol Technology University

Happy New Year. As we near the end of January, Capitol Technology University is into its first calendar year as a full-fledged university. It looks to be a great first year. We expect to launch a new doctoral program to supplement the 100+ candidates in our original doctorate. Also on the near horizon are new master and baccalaureate programs. We are planning newer living facilities on our campus. Look for more and deeper partners with Capitol, from corporations, government agencies, and foreign countries.

Speaking of corporations, have you ever thought about the genesis of great technology companies? Many are the products of creative and dedicated pairs of people. How about Microsoft? Bill Gates, the technology aficionado and expert, and Paul Allen, the entrepreneur, social visionary, and re-maker of the city of Seattle. Not into Windows? Okay, let’s try Apple. It did not fall off a tree. That firm, now the wealthiest in the world, was built by Steve Wozniak, the technology genius, and a fellow named Steve Jobs, who could market and manage like crazy. Who will forget the jeans and black turtlenecks of one of history’s most famous CEOs? 

Going back a ways, remember MCI, the telecommunications company, built in the vapor stream of the Bell monopoly? MCI was nurtured by Bill McGowan, a business savant, and a major contributor to our university. Bill fought long in the courts to enact his independent firm. Mr. McGowan also had technology-minded partners. Too “historic” for you? Then I’ll finish with The Facebook, or just Facebook, as it is now known. Mark Zuckerberg started with a business-minded partner, whom he rather quickly bought out. 

Gates also bought out Allen. But Mr. Allen is still there. If you were watching last week’s NFC championship game in Seattle, you may have seen Mr. Allen raise the “12th Man” flag over the stadium. Partnerships last various periods of time. Most are crucial to getting companies off the ground and into the American mainstream, as their seeds spawn between friends in garages, basements, dorm rooms, or coffee shops. If you think more about this or research it, you’ll likely find many more dynamic duos.

Is there a lesson here? Generative businesses are not products of just a great idea and some financial backing. They are the products of multiple great ideas, or diversely expert and interested minds, focusing on making the germ of an idea into a great new plant. How do we integrate the parts into the new whole? The futurist Joel Barker, who studies paradigms (more on those things in a future blog), would suggest that very few of us experience the joy of starting a total paradigm shift. However, we can make friends with the shifters, and bring our talents to bear on the great new idea as paradigm pioneers, putting change into practice. So, one way to integrate is to find a different-thinking partner who loves your idea, or whose idea you embrace, or with whom together you will hammer out the new idea from the various pieces you each bring to the puzzle.

A second way to integrate the technological and social facets of innovation is to develop some of each set of interests and skills in yourself. That is what we are trying to do at Capitol. Multidisciplinary curricula blend technology and business. Emerging technologists/engineers know the social context and business applications for designing and building new technical systems and solutions. Prospective business leaders know how technology supports their business, and how to lead and serve technology-driven organizations. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals now have STEAM, as we put some Art into their equation.

So, I’ll suggest that YOU make the next Dynamic Duo, comprised of you and CapTechU. As a student, a staff/faculty member, donor, or partner, you can link with us to create and implement the next generation of technology-based or technology-supported innovations. We may not become Batman (you) and Robin (us)…or maybe we can? …We’ll still become a lot of Dynamic Duos.

Onward and upward.