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Parchment CEO Matt Pittinsky Promotes 'Radical Incrementalism' In Educational Technology

Parchment CEO Matt Pittinsky Promotes 'Radical Incrementalism' In Educational Technology

Who will be the next Apple? What company with what disruptive idea will turn the world of technology upside down? In this series, Benzinga interviewed CEOs of several technology startups that are making waves today in hopes of making a difference tomorrow.

Asked how educational technology entrepreneurs should approach the market, Parchment CEO Matt Pittinsky told Benzinga, “I consider myself a radical incrementalist.”

Oxymoronic implications aside, to Pittinsky the radical part isn’t surprising.

Radical Incrementalism And Ed Tech

“The potential for technology to have a significant impact on education is clear,” he said, adding, “We are still very early in that impact.”

“What is harder for entrepreneurs,” Pittinsky noted, “is the incremental part of that phrase, which is recognizing that oftentimes the way to create change or disrupt is to start by solving very small practical problems that naturally build into higher order impacts.”

Solving Small Problems

According to Pittinsky, Parchment was created to solve the practical problem of providing learners, students or alumni with better access to their credentials and transcripts.

“Once you make credentials digital,” he said, “it opens up all sorts of opportunities to grow from there.”

Related: Parchment CEO Matt Pittinsky Explains How To Turn Credentials Into Opportunities

Perceptive And The ‘Last Mile’

According to Parchment, the just announced partnership with Perceptive Software allows a “one workflow tech solution to manage credential processing."

“Perceptive,” Pittinsky said, “is the “last mile” of digital credential delivery.”

In this case the ‘last mile’ consists of end-of-line services at schools, for learners and at the final destination of credentials and transcripts.

In the past that ‘last mile’ was mostly one of opening the mail and processing thousands of transcripts by hand.

A Growing Partner Base

“Perceptive,” Pittinsky said, “is one of the leading systems for how admissions offices and others manage documents.”

“Partnering with them allows us not just to avoid the problem of opening the mail,” he said, “but allows you to route the credentials right into the system that makes the decision.”

Moreover, the partnership with Perceptive compliments one reached with OnBase by Hyland Software in 2014. That partnership was designed to “accelerate the (credential) evaluation process, reducing paper costs and increasing security.”

Touch Free Automation

Ultimately, according to Pittinsky, Parchment offers touch free automation for anyone involved in the movement, acquisition or evaluation of transcripts or credentials.

Touch free automation offers another advantage.

As Pittinsky put it, “It’s only marginally better if schools and universities can get all the orders from one site like Parchment. It is exponentially better if we have a service that connects into the systems they are using.”

The Big (Ed Tech) Picture

Pittinsky noted three “buckets” into which innovations in educational technology have been moving of late.

First, he cited ed tech services designed for parents, students and teachers that do not exist within an educational institution.

The second bucket, according to Pittinsky, consists of adaptive learning technologies that are part of institutions and offer personalized instructional options, are data driven and, of course, adaptive.

Finally, there are organizations like online learning platform Khan Academy dedicated to creating new types of educational services that are not traditional schools or universities.

Related: Exclusive: Leap Motion Introduces Touch-Free Computing

The Parchment Connection

While Parchment’s incremental solutions role may not seem to be related to the radical side of Pittinsky’s ‘three buckets,’ he sees a connection none-the-less.

“We believe making credentials digital will be bigger,” he said, “because … what you can do with that data to help the learner understand opportunities, project professional identities and help schools market their programs, those are really big second order impacts.”

Let’s Get Radical

To that point, Pittinsky said that the next big cluster of news would be in April with the next major release of Parchment.

According to Pittinsky, that next release would deal with some of the more “radical” elements of radical incremental-ism.

This would include, he said, allowing “learners to do more things with their credentials.”

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco  had no position in any mentioned securities.


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