On my way to work today, I heard a radio commercial for an automall here in Lethbridge. The commercial featured a manager from two competing dealerships. Even though they compete for car sales, they found benefits in being close in proximately and even in sharing advertising.
Competition is healthy and actually benefits both the consumer and the business. Without competition we’ll end up with sub-par products. Competition breeds innovation. The trick is making the competition work for your institution. Here in Lethbridge we have two post-secondary institutions – Lethbridge College and University of Lethbridge. Similar to the automall example, I see great opportunities for post-secondary institutions that are close in proximity to benefit from each other and play off each others strengths and proximity – quite often this is seen in 2+2 transfer programs – some of which are available between our two competing schools.
Sometimes we’re afraid to share ideas with competing schools or to collaborate with them on projects. Not only can this damage our schools but provide a lower quality of service.
Potential students are becoming more and more selective and expect the ability to shop around for their education and may like the opportunity to take courses from various schools. I think that competing schools can begin right now to look at ways to leverage marketing dollars and efforts to promote similar programs, their geographic area, collaborative initiatives, etc.
What do you think? Please share any experiences you might have about working collaboratively on initiatives with competing schools. Have they been successful?