A colleague of mine shared a story from her past life as a product manager for a large personal care product company. The company has a very core belief in what makes a high-quality skin cleansing product (yep…people actually think about that stuff). However when they took their product to certain Asian countries, their market research found a significant issue: Their product didn’t ‘squeak’ when rubbed on the skin. The company that had, until that time, had a veritable corner on the Asian skin cleanser market had trained consumers that the sound of ‘squeaky’ skin meant the skin was clean. In fact, it really meant that the skin was very dry – something that was completely opposite to the core product values of my colleague’s company.
So what did they do?
They added ‘squeak’. They changed their product so that it squeaked when rubbed, while not compromising their product (it still didn’t dry out your skin).
This made me think. What’s the ‘squeak’ that traditional educational models and systems have trained students and families to look for to prove their getting a ‘quality education’? What are those things that parents and students expect that – while it may make them feel good about their school – really has no positive impact on the effectiveness of their education?
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on where we have – explicitly or implicitly – added squeak where it was not necessary.