Capture Blog

Making Silk Purses: The Unintended Consequences of Innovation

Working in the field of enrollment management, not much is ever truly routine. Sure, we kind of have a calendar and a cycle that is “maintained,” but I would say that it’s fluid at best. With this constant movement, I sometimes take solace in the “unintended consequences” that result from our work.

A recent conversation with a colleague got me thinking about the various times when we intend an effort or task to achieve one thing, which it may succeed in doing, but it ends up leading to a supplemental result — a bonus, if you will.

As I have been working with and observing the use of Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE), one of Capture’s foundational products, I have seen numerous instances firsthand of these so-called unintended consequences.

Recently, during a visit to Capture headquarters by one of our partners, it became clear that, while setting up a particular campaign intended to gain loads of information about the university’s adult programs, we had in the process been able to identify a substantial number of organic leads for their traditional undergraduate programs.

This is just the type of “unintended consequence” that every enrollment manager dreams about. Here are some other examples:

  • Start a social media community and have the activity get so popular that it pulls in interest of those who are on the fringes of the group.
  • Run a campaign to a developmental market and reap two or three times the amount of applications that you planned for.
  • Hire a student ambassador who ends up graduating and giving enough money to the university to name a couple of buildings after herself (OK … maybe I am the only one that dreams about that).

With the numerous data points that Captures latches onto, it’s a pretty short leap from turning what might be a seemingly insignificant piece of information (“sow’s ear”) into a pretty substantial pivot point (“silk purse”).

Now, don’t get me wrong, undergraduate applications are a big deal. However, looking at various data points within a campaign, we can begin to understand markets, responses, and possible outreaches in ways that have not been previously explored.

As CBE continues to take hold in the marketplace, I know I am one “Capturite” (or Captor) who is pumped to see how many more “sows’ ears can be turned into silk purses” by the partner institutions that I work with.

Jamie Gleason, Senior Enrollment Advisor, Capture Higher Ed

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