Pearson–lessons in strategy and change from a global education company

A recent story in the Fortune magazine traces the transformation of Pearson from a traditional publishing house to a global education company poised for an digital learning era. The attention-grabbing headline “Everybody hates Pearson” leads the reader into an insightful story of opportunities and challenges faced by Pearson in the pursuit of its strategic choice of focusing on “data-driven education.” Here is a timeline of the major milestones in Pearson’s history.
Pearson north america and emergin markets
Pearson in its recently released annual report notes that “Pearson’s strategy centres on a significant and exciting long-term opportunity: the sustained and growing global demand for greater access, achievement and affordability in education.” It adds that “Pearson stands at the intersection of new technology (with its ability to engage, personalise, diagnose and scale) and new, more effective, ways of teaching.” In 2015, five priorities will guide Pearson’s work:
    1. A business model focused on helping more people achieve better learning outcomes: efficacy is now at the centre of our business model and a major part of how we create value.
    1. New digital products: launching new digital products to meet demand for better learning outcomes.
    1. A more focused company: more modular and scalable products, deployed on a smaller number of global platforms.
    1. A more consistently high performing culture: a series of actions, including changing how we recruit, appraise and reward our employees.
  1. A strong and trusted brand: build Pearson as a global education brand, focused on educational impact and learning outcomes, and being open and transparent in holding ourselves to account in achieving these goals.
Pearsons strategy of combining digital, teaching and scale
The annual report notes “In 2014, we completed the major restructuring and product investment programme, initiated in 2013, designed to accelerate Pearson’s shift towards significant growth opportunities in digital, services and fast-growing economies.” Given below are the priority products by different segments:
Bringing focus to a large, complex, changing and global British company of $7.5 billion revenue (60% from North America) is challenging to say the least. The transformational process has tested patience and commitment of the organization to its core strategy. Many are watching Pearson closely as they get directly or indirectly impacted by its strategic choices and size. One thing is clear, it will be an interesting and insightful story of strategy and change in education services.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha