Connecting with Ken Finch, ODEM’s Head of Business Development

As the ODEM Platform moves toward launch in February 2019, Ken Finch, ODEM’s Head of Business Development, took a few minutes from his busy schedule to provide ODEM Marketing with an overview of his top priorities.

Ken, how do you describe On-Demand Education Marketplace to someone unfamiliar with our project?

In the most basic sense, ODEM connects educators and students to provide targeted, custom education for students looking for specific topics, specific timing, and scheduling. The ODEM Platform also acts as a blockchain-based records-management system. It supports ODEM’s mission of making education more accessible, affordable, transferable, and verifiable.

With the Platform’s official launch just a few months away, what’s at the top of your to-do list?

My priorities are to formalize relationships with strategic partners who will act as early adopters of the ODEM Platform, test all the ODEM use cases, and make any necessary adjustments before we go to the full ODEM launch.

One category of early adopters that we’re focused on is existing educators associated with Excelorators Inc., our sister company. In that group we already have a memorandum of understanding with motivational trainer Kris Yagel and Diligent Plans, for his Leadership programs offered on the campus of West Point. Another important partner is Shanghai-based Looker Education, led by Kevin Cang. Kevin visited ODEM in San Francisco last summer when he had a group doing an Excelorators program at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. We invited the whole group to a presentation by ODEM’s Chief Technology Officer.

Of course, we’re also very excited that University of Geneva Macro-finance Lecturer Michel Girardin is offering a four-day course on the Swiss wealth management industry and the emergence of blockchain and artificial intelligence. We have great expectations for Dr. Girardin. He’s been an ultra successful manager of business-course content offered on the Coursera platform.

The course in Geneva is notable for a number of reasons. It illustrates the close ties that exist between ODEM and Excelorators. As well, by offering the WealthTech course in Geneva on Jan. 21-24, 2019, Dr. Girardin will be among the first educators in the world to teach a program offered in conjunction with the ODEM Platform. More information about Dr. Girardin’s program is available here.

Looking ahead, what else is on your radar?

ODEM and Excelorators have a number of educational programs planned for the Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year period at the end of January and early February 2019. That’s when all the schools in China are off for a few weeks. We take full advantage of the lull, and have 90-to-100 students travelling to the U.S. from China for our programs on the campuses of Harvard and MIT.

Our intention is to offer all of those students an ODEM certificate of course completion. Creation of the certificates on the blockchain means that the records are secure, permanent, and immutable. At the same time, the students can open them up for prospective employers or academic institutions to view. It’s very exciting.

Aren’t you also working with corporations to source skilled workers?

Yes, we’re connecting with large businesses and corporations to provide two things: Certifications for training that their employees have received and to provide additional training for them in competencies where they’re having a hard time finding skilled people. A couple of months ago, we formed a collaborative relationship with 10EQS, and we’re looking forward to working together to help companies find qualified workers. In the legal world, we’re also aligning with a major U.S. law school to provide both academic content and to use the blockchain for storage and management of academic records.

Those types of initiatives have opened other doors in the legal community. Lawyers, to keep their bar license up to date, have to do a certain amount of continuing education. At the same time, we understand that some law firms struggle to manage those records to ensure their firm’s lawyers remain compliant. So we’re quite thrilled about the potential for ODEM to provide blockchain solutions for lawyers and other members of the legal community.

In the education sphere, I’ve also just begun discussions with a couple of student associations at several universities in France and the USA. We’re at the early stages of presenting ODEM to them and understanding how we can work to encourage members of the associations to sign up on the ODEM Platform. This past weekend, ODEM Blockchain Solutions Engineer Scott M. Akers personally delivered a presentation about ODEM to students and faculty at the University of Oregon.

Ken, thanks for the update.

Stay tuned for more technical updates and for more information about ODEM join the ODEM conversation on Telegram.

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