In this episode of MEP, we have a great conversation with Deb Mills-Scofield. We learn how her background has shaped her perspective in education, and she shares her thoughts on innovation in the education space. We also try to get her framework and her modeling in working with companies and see how we can apply that to the education industry.
Deb Mills Scofield helps organizations create and implement highly actionable, measurable, and profitable strategic plans and cultures to foster innovation. Deb has over 20 years of experience in strategic planning and implementation with various manufacturing, service and high-technology companies ranging from multinationals, mid-sized, early-stage, publicly and privately-held. She has also been involved in several start-ups, including her own.
Deb graduated from Brown University in three years, helping create the Cognitive Science concentration, one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind. Deb went to AT&T Bell Labs, designed and patented an integrated multimedia-messaging platform recognized as one of AT&T/Lucent’s top revenue generating patents. She was instrumental in spearheading AT&T’s strategies and execution into the Internet and E-commerce markets, AT&T WorldNet® Services.
Deb writes for Harvard Business Review, Switch and Shift and other venues, including her own blog, and has contributed to several books. She is on the board of RISD’s DESINE-Lab and Brown University’s Engineering School as well as lecturing in Brown’s IE-Brown E-MBA program. Deb also mentors students doing ‘regular’ and social startups and supports those involved in STEAM.
As part of her consulting practice, Deb asks her clients to match and donate 10% of her fee to improve lives in the surrounding community and mentor and/or assist an entrepreneur where and when appropriate.
02:44 Deb’s background
06:49 I’m interested to get your perspective as a professor and mentor. Where do you think public and private education is going right now based on how you grew up as a really curious learner? Are students learning these sort of skills or do you believe we’re falling short?
10:23 One of the things you do as a consultant now is to talk about the increasing volatility towards uncertainty in the world. If we are trending towards this sense of standardization in schools, how are students able to cope with or understand this uncertainty. Do you believe students are able to understand this trend?
11:05 Deb: One of the things I looked at my education really did … was teach me how to ask questions, not necessarily find answers, or it wasn’t yet to find the right answer.
We’ve got to teach kids how to critically think, look at the world from different perspectives, and teach kids how to ask questions.
12:58 I want to get your perspective on why STEAM is really important, instead of just a practical application of STEM.
15:16 Can you talk about the client base you have and the types of companies you’re working with?
19:41 What would be the number one thing that you would teach 7 to 10-year-olds about the importance of this sort of thing without it being too complicated? Soft skills can a lot of times be more important than any content knowledge you can potentially get. The earlier we can get these kids thinking about the importance of relationships and giving rather than receiving, I think, is huge. What do you think?
20:52 Deb: Teach them to not be afraid to ask people about stuff they’re curious about.
22:02 What’s the book that’s most influenced you and why?
23:43 Do you watch documentaries, and if so, do you have a favorite?
25:25 If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
Mom and Moses.
Links to Deb: