Inspiration for collaboration guides izzy marketing plan

July 30, 2010
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NeoCon may be done for this year, but that doesn’t mean the furniture industry has stopped showcasing products.

Izzy+ recently attended SCUP-45, an annual international conference and “idea marketplace” hosted by the Society for College and University Planning and held this year in Minneapolis. The event brings together those intimately involved with higher education.

Some of the products izzy+ exhibited at the event were its Hannah chairs, Fetch chairs, HǺG products and items for the Dewey collection. Products were chosen to demonstrate the changing culture in higher education.

“The goal is to stretch people’s minds about how we now use common areas and cafés, as well as what is considered the traditional classroom,” said Rick Glasser, vice president, marketing and product management for izzy+.

“New technologies have completely changed the way people learn and interact. So what can we do to help create greater student and professor engagement?”

 “One of the things that came out of our early research is that the way a professor teaches or manages a classroom is changing,” said Chuck Saylor, president of izzy+. “Before it was very one dimensional, very hierarchal. In today’s world, it’s much more about collaboration and sharing and the experience of being in a classroom. The question that that translates into is, ‘What is the highly structured classroom of the past going to look like in the future?’

“Our belief is that classrooms need to be much more interactive and more dynamic. It’s happening through technology, it’s happening through making classrooms much more flexible so a professor from one class to the next class can literally reconfigure the entire classroom if they have to, based on their teaching style.”

Glasser said that one tradition that needs to change is the isolation of professors.

“There’s a drive to pull professors out of their private offices and get them to engage with their students in these more public spaces,” he said. “The old days of having to reserve a half-hour with somebody — and if you’re late, you’re toast — those days have gone by.”

Saylor emphasized that most learning takes place outside the classroom.

“The vast majority of a student’s learning is occurring outside of the classroom. It’s these common, shared, collective spaces where students can gather around a laptop and do research together, share information,” said Saylor. “Those casual, informal spaces are where a ton of learning and sharing is going on. Students in the classroom are sharing their thoughts and information via technology in a much more interactive way. Where are those spaces at on a university campus?”

The changing trends in higher education translate to the workplace, said Saylor.

“One thing that we’ve also recognized, probably as never before, is that universities and campuses are quickly becoming a reflection of the future office. Eventually, these students who interact and behave with each other and technology in very unique and special ways are going to come out into the work force. … That kind of interactive, more shared experience kind of place is going to be in an office environment, and we’re seeing it already.”

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