When I think about education and what it means to me, one word irrevocably comes to my mind which is “Ikigai”—the Japanese word referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose. I think that those who have the chance in life to do what they love, and know what they do also meets a greater purpose (such as not only helping ourselves but the greater society), that is a real gift in life.
In my case, becoming an Instructure employee, working on making data available in higher education institutions to help students accomplish their degrees and fulfilling their dreams—a huge milestone in their lives towards their Ikigai—this is a reason why it is worth going to work every day. As small as we individually are, we can make a difference and literally contribute to make this world a better place.
Translating this idea into numbers, the more data available to make better decisions and trigger a timely intervention for the enumeration to continue, the more we contribute to student success. This is where I see the power of the product I manage and that Instructure as a company would like to make it available to any university that we work with.
Wonder why data is important to help students succeed—besides the fact that they will privately benefit from their degrees? Even though it can be debated whether education is really a public good or not, the outcomes definitely create positive externalities for the society as a whole. So the more prepared one is for the challenges of the future, or even better(!) could predict the future, the earlier can PROactively and not REactively intervene. This is the power that I attribute to data if used and combined wisely.
I hope that everyone who works for education and in education, on the software or teaching end of the spectrum, have found their own “Ikigai”.
What is your “Ikigai”? Share in the comments section of this blog post—I’d also love to hear any of your thoughts about data and its purpose.