CLU's Gerhard Apfelthaler: What I Learned In 2014

We're continuing to feature reflections on the last year from movers and shakers in the local high tech community, and today have thoughts from Gerhard Apfelthaler, who is Dean of California Lutheran University's School of Management, which has been very active in Ventura County helping to promote startup and entrepreneurial activity.

What was the most significant event for you or your company this year?

I have to be a little self-promoting on this one. The most significant event definitely has been the opening of our Westlake Center for Entrepreneurship in July a unique facility that combines a public co-working space, private offices for start-ups, an event space and classrooms. The Center is designed to be a hub for the start-up community along the Westlake Village Thousand Oaks corridor. Within a few months, it has become a vibrant space where founders, investors, students and our faculty members meet and co-create.

What was your biggest lesson learned in 2014?

It was a lesson relearned: it's all about execution. Even the greatest ideas coupled with the greatest team can easily get lost in translation if they are not properly executed. Execution starts with selling an idea, creating buy in, followed by goal setting and creating a good sense of accountability.

What technologies or things are you looking forward to most in 2015?

As an educator, I am looking forward to innovations in online learning. MOOCs have injected new energy into the field of online learning, but they have not really become the breakthrough innovation that everyone has hoped for. It's time for something more disruptive than just bringing the lecture hall to scale. I'd like to see big leaps in adaptive learning technologies, true mobile learning, and the credentialing of non-traditional learning.

Gerhard Apfelthaler is the Dean of California Lutheran University's School of Management, a vibrant learning community for approximately 4,800 undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to his current position, he has had a diverse, global career in academia, in government, and as an entrepreneur a passion he continues to pursue.