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From Pipelines to Platforms: Where do we go from here?

Over the few weeks I shared some thoughts about how we conceptualize and engage in collaborative relationships.  Primarily, we’ve explored shifting our primary metaphor from pipelines to platforms.  A great resource to think more deeply about platforms is Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You. The authors provide many insights and shed some light on ways in which we can improve upon our processes and explain the benefits of platform thinking. While I haven’t directly quoted the authors, their influence will be evident if anyone reads that text and then re-reads these posts.

This series is intended to serve as a very broad introduction to “platform thinking” and create space for future conversations. One caveat before providing some concluding thoughts and questions is that while we are creative and innovative in how we work through our mission, there are agreed upon boundaries for the limits of our creative efforts. So, while we consider the shift from pipelines to platforms, it’s important to note that at its core, Winebrenner Theological Seminary is a school for graduate theological education.

First , one point that is evident in several of the past few posts is the large role that the non-degree Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) plays in our current platform structure. As opposed to viewing this as a risk or concern, we need to consider how we can benefit from platform thinking in our graduate programs?

Second, there is little question that the increased emphasis on technology both in terms of educational offerings and staff interaction raises the role that the internet plays in our planning conversations. One of the benefits of digitizing and decentralization is the focus it brings on automation and outsourcing. Are there additional activities that can be automated our outsourced?

We’ll continue to work on rough designs for what the emerging structure and name could be. We remain committed to shared collaborative efforts, as opposed to one school owning all aspects of the “pipeline.”

Let the conversation and journey continue…

– Dr. Brent Sleasman. President

– Image accessed via AdobeSpark