The education industry is at a pivotal crossroad. For a customized keynote that is energizing, impactful, and actionable – book Kaihan for your next education event or conference.


A first generation American of a Bangladeshi mother and German father (who himself has been teaching at UPenn’s Annenburg School for over 50 years), Kaihan was fortunate to have grown up in a household that values education. He has personal experience in both public and private education having attended K-12 public school in New Haven, CT and then earning advanced degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton, Columbia Business School, London Business School and Abo Akademi in Finland.  He is an adjunct professor at NYU, FIU, and other business school internationally. The father of three young teens, Kaihan Krippendorff is a fierce proponent of education and passionate about building a system that is sustainable and works for all.

Kaihan Krippendorff has worked with and taught for some of the biggest brands in education including: Macmillan, Springer Nature, Harvard Business Review, NYU, Florida International University, Wharton Executive Education, Universidad Americana, Cajon Valley Union School District, Columbia Business School, The Institute of Management Studies, the Irish Management Institute, and the Entrepreneurs Organization Masters Program.

The education industry is experiencing dramatic changes, disruptions, and competition from unlikely areas. Digitally integrated campuses, interactivity and gamification, nano-learning, personalized learning, labor shortages, the debate of experience over education, affordability-financing and student loans are all top of mind. When change happens there is opportunity to re-imagine business models, re-think how you engage employees, re-evaluate what impact your organization has on the world, and develop creative solutions to complex problems.

Selecting the right keynote speaker for your education event is one of the most important decisions you will make this year. Content, energy, ability to connect to an audience, and actionability are all important factors to consider. Former McKinsey Consultant, NYU Professor, bestselling author, and globally recognized authority on strategy, growth, and transformation, Kaihan Krippendorff will make your event an undeniable success with a customized education keynote that leverages his unique perspective and deep experience in the industry.

The time to act is now. Don’t just be a Thinker. Be an Outthinker.

An active leader in education, Kaihan brings deep industry experience, proprietary research, and exclusive insights to every keynote he delive


Eric Shinseki



  • Nearly 25 percent of all Americans are enrolled students.
  • There are close to 9 million teachers and education-based employees in the United States; the majority of these are kindergarten and elementary school teachers (Vault).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that most digital education infrastructure has not been properly established to serve as a primary means of instruction and learning. Research by OneClass shows that about 75 percent of college students were unsatisfied with the quality of education they received when the pandemic forced them into an e-learning structure (Forbes).
  • With a global shift towards a more digitally focused, hybrid learning format, the education industry, which is notoriously underdeveloped technologically, given it is one of the most “people-centric economic sectors” (HBR)—is due for a redesign (Forbes).

Trends in Education

Digitally Integrated Campuses

Interactivity & Gamification


Personalized Learning

Experience Over Education

Financing and Student Loans

Digitally Integrated Campuses

  • Thriving educational institutions are seeing the importance of looking past the virtual classroom and finding even more innovative ways to integrate technology on-campus. The educational system, from kindergarten to graduate school, is now full of digital natives who have spent most of their lives around some form of innovative technology.  
  • The introduction of the “smart campus” can: foster a holistic digital learning experience, address cost pressures which lead to high costs to students, and improve communication, safety, and quality of life (Deloitte). Making learning resources readily available, such as a digital library in the college environment, is a necessity (CIOReview).  
  • AR and VR applications are beginning to take hold. Large corporations such as Apple, Facebook, and Samsung are investing heavily in availability and implementation of AR/IR (Modestum). 

Interactivity & Gamification

  • Forty-six percent of adolescents aged 13 to 18 years old play video games daily on a mobile platform. 27 percent play on a console, such as the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch—and 17 percent play video games on their computer (Statista). 73 percent of Americans aged 2 and older play video games (NPD). With a significant share of all education moving online and staying online, learning and teaching methods are adapting through gamifying to increase the value of the learning experience for students of all ages.  
      • Roblox (Fast Company): Following its IPO, Roblox is considered one of the highest-valued video game companies in the world. The online computer game contains integrated features that provide digital hands-on opportunities for teachers to connect with their students’ learning styles. Customizable game levels, interactive tutorials, and physics simulations within the game engage students in a “learn-as-you-play” approach. Skills in STEM subjects, as well as coding, animation, and digital civility can be taught and learned through Roblox. 


  • As a result of influence from social media, breaking news, and an abundance of other short-form digital entertainment, humans’ collective attention span is diminishing (EurekAlert). Nanolearning is a learning structure in which students are provided with smaller amounts of information during shorter periods of time. Teaching in short bursts is becoming the way to offer information to students in a learnable and retainable way (Pearson). Nanolearning is already happening through short-form, low-friction content delivered via today’s social platforms; it must catch viewers’ eye and hook them where they are (LinkedIn). As of this writing, 90 percent of employees “welcome” a microlearning approach (Training Industry). 
    1. CrashCourse (YouTube)The YouTube channel CrashCourse offers “nano-courses” of 6- to 16-minute lengths on a variety of subjects, from the colonization of America to the human endocrine system to lessons on how to argue—and the channel’s videos have been viewed nearly 1.5 billion times. 
    2. MasterClass (USNews): MasterClass is a platform for online learning which harnesses the expertise of “recognized masters of their craft.” The company offers over 100 classes across 9 categories, and the classes are taught by internationally recognized icons in their respective genres (MasterClass). Each class ranges from two to five hours in length, but instruction is broken down into an average of 20 videos per class with an average length of 10 minutes per video. The classes are available through primary digital streaming channels, such as on the MasterClass smartphone app, streaming media players, and through personal computers. The classes include a downloadable workbook, interactive assignments, and even community-centered activities. 

Personalized Learning

  • The traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach (or even the one-degree-fits-you approach) is ineffective, and correlates with disengagement and dropping out. Big Data analytics and AI can be used to form personalized learning experiences tailored to individual students (HBR). These “AI-based learning systems” could aid instructors in understanding their students’ learning styles, abilities, and progress, and can assist in tailoring learning programs to individual students (HBR).  
    1. McGraw-Hill (Lexalytics): McGraw-Hill’s “ALEKS” is a web-based, AI/ML-driven assessment and “learning system” for K-12, homeschool, and college use. It has been used by over 25 million students in STEM fields, and helps those students know what to study and when. The ALEKS tool diagnoses students’ knowledge and mastery of subjects and helps build learning momentum for new topics (Aleks). This AI/ML system has the capability to lead students to a 90 percent readiness rate in learning of new concepts. 

Experience Over Education

  • Forty-eight percent of people surveyed in a Glassdoor research study said that their degrees were irrelevant to their current occupations (LinkedIn). Experience is increasingly more important than education. Experience is considered a differentiator. In addition to experience, certificates, specializations, and training serve as great benefit to students. Innovators in the education industry should consider what their product and service lineup offers to students outside of a mere diploma, and whether their customers (students) will be able to extract more value than just a paper slip. 
    1. Coursera (US News): Coursera has diversified its product offering to include specializations, certificates, and credits towards bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at reputable institutions. Additionally, Coursera achievements can be displayed directly in the LinkedIn platform. Rather than focusing exclusively on education, Coursera leverages connections in the professional environment to provide multiple levels of value to their customers. 

Financing and Student Loans

  • In 2020, Americans owed about $1.7T in student loans, with their student loan debt growing 6 times faster than the US economy (Education Data). The average student is in debt close to $40,000. Within that number, the average public university student must borrow about $30,000 to attain a bachelor’s degree.  Some corporations, like Fidelity Investments and Aetna, offer a $2,000 annual stipend to cover employees’ student loan repayment through partnerships with organizations such as and Gradifi (HBR).  
    1. CommonBond (US News): Refinancing is becoming an integrated part of EdFin. CommonBond offers student loan refinancing, saving individuals an average of $24,000 a year and clearing over $1B in total loans funded (Fast Company). CommonBond for Business offers employers a flexible contribution program to pay down employees’ student loans and even offers training on financial literacy, with the goal of reducing employees’ debt (US News). 

The Outthinker 8P framework – opportunities for disruption and innovation in the education industry


  • Founded in 2015, the company gained 30,000 users within a few months. During COVID-19 quarantining, MasterClass increased tremendously in popularity.
  • Leverages the perceived power value of influence versus accreditation by offering classes taught by internationally recognized “masters” in a certain profession (for example, cooking taught by Gordon Ramsay, acting taught by Natalie Portman, novel-writing taught by James Patterson, etc.)
  • Provides access to content through a monthly membership (billed annually) costing $15 (as of this writing).
  • Classes in total measure between two and five hours long; the lessons, on average, last 10 minutes, and there is an average of 20 per class.
  • In addition to lessons, the classes include workbooks, assignments, and community activities.
  • MasterClass content is streamable through mobile devices, personal computers, and streaming media players, and downloadable for offline use.
  • In some classes, students are given the opportunity to submit their work to the instructor for critique.
  • MasterClass offers personalized learning programs for customers using an entry survey.
  • MasterClass is ahead of the curve by recognizing that many consumers perceive a higher value in learning from recognizable, accomplished figures over learning from educated professors.
  • MasterClass is taking advantage of the nanolearning movement by offering high-density, short-form education in an easily accessible platform.
  • Partners with educational institutions such as Duke University, Yale University, and the University of Michigan, and corporations such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and IBM to provide “self-paced guided projects” and courses over a variety of categories (US News).
  • Certificates earned through courses completed on Coursera can be shared professionally on resumes, or connected with the student’s LinkedIn profile.
  • Users can complete collegiate (bachelor’s and master’s) degrees and earn professional certificates, and Coursera work can count towards master’s programs at certain universities.
  • Coursera users can also sign up to earn specializations, which allow them to complete a series of connected courses and projects on specific topics.
  • As of this writing, Coursera offers over 1,600 free courses with certificates being offered for purchase upon completion. Courses resulting in certificates start around $49; guided projects with certificates are priced starting at $9.99; specializations and professional certificates start at $49 per month.
  • Coursera offers “Coursera for Business,” which is a training and development plan providing workforce education at cost-per-user per year. They have also tapped opportunities in the governmental and educational sectors with “Coursera for Government” and “Coursera for Campus” offerings.
  • From March to September of 2020, Coursera saw an approximate 400 percent increase in members, with 18 million people joining.
  • The company was founded in 2012; it has funded more than $2B in student loans since.
  • CommonBond offers loans for undergraduate and graduate degrees, medical and dental degrees, and refinancing.
  • They offer a six-month grace period on payments from loan recipients who have graduated. Additionally, for those in a residency program, CommonBond allows full deferment of payments until after the program has been completed.
  • For each loan or refinance made with CommonBond, the company pays the cost of education for a child in the developing world by partnering with Pencils of Promise in Ghana.
  • CommonBond for Business provides companies with “customizable student loan benefits” to support employees who are in debt from school, with the goals of supporting employees in debt and assisting companies in attracting and retaining talent (CommonBond).
  • They offer a “Flex contribution” plan in which employers can contribute directly to employee student loan payments or offer tax-advantaged 401(k) contributions.
  • CommonBond for Business also includes a support tool for educating employees on financial literacy and decision-making.

Leverage Point

“8Ps” of Strategy

Opportunity for Disruption

Recommended Leverage Points


The type of consumer being targeted (e.g., students, institutions, and parents). Which of their needs do you seek to meet?


Are there new student or teacher demographics you can target with existing technology?

How do students, parents, and other stakeholders perceive your school


The courses and programs you offer that differentiate you from the competition.


How can you implement AR/VR applications into your current product lineup? How can you adapt your current offering to leverage AR/VR resources available to you?

Are there ways in which you can pivot to offer gamified educational resources? Have you considered utilizing existing games to increase your reach and effectiveness?

Do you have a plan to utilize AI/ML in any capacity to increase the value of your product offering?

Have you designed a plan to increase your digital presence by making your product or service cross-platform and mobile-friendly?


How you communicate and connect with students, parents, and institutions.


How do you communicate with prospective families?

What is your recruiting strategy?


How you value your offering versus how the parent values your offering.
How you satisfy the monetary, emotional, and time-costs of students and teachers.


What elements of value comprise your pricing strategy, and how do they contribute to customer satisfaction?

How do you offer creative ways to pay for the products or services you provide to students?


How you deliver your product or service to students, parents, or institutions.


In what ways can you maximize your current resources to take advantage of short-form, high-density learning strategies? Consider digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and the possibility of an internally developed platform.

What adjustments are you making to your products, services, and/or strategies to take advantage of the changing theater of education? Are you prepared for the possibility of fully digital education?

Physical Experience

What your program or product makes the student think and feel.


How does your program satisfy the emotional, physical, and social needs of students?


How you guide your business operations to fulfill objectives.

How you deliver results to students.


How are you implementing personalization into your learning programs or products?


The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.


What do you look for in employees?

How do you reskill and train employees for a digital learning environment?