Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has launched a $100m Innovation Fund to "promote and support solutions aimed at engaging all education stakeholder groups". Anyone involved in education anywhere in the world can put forward ideas, products and services which they have used successfully and which HMH can deliver globally.
Barry O'Callaghan (right), who has a background in both finance and technology and who took over HMH in 2006, told FFD that the fund would last three to five years; he hopes to find 20 to 50 ideas ripe for development. In addition, the company will invest $300m in "broader technology initiatives" over the next three years. "The HMH Innovation Fund is a first for our industry, providing the capital to identify and incubate the next generation of innovation and education. We are excited about the opportunity to share in developing new solutions for teachers, students, administrators and parents."
More than 90% of HMH business is in the US, and some 57m students across America and in 120 countries use its products and services; it is the leader in the so-called K-12 (kindergarten to 12) market.
In another innovative move, the company has launched a pilot scheme in California for an interactive algebra app for iPad. It is part of HMH Fuse™, "a new mode of curriculum delivery", and the app combines instruction, support and intervention, allowing for customised learning tailored to individual student need. And still with e-learning, there's Write Source, an elementary to high school language, arts curriculum which allows students to publish their work, while interacting with their own world as an avatar.
In what's shaping up to be a busy Frankfurt for HMH, there were also announcements of a new office in Seoul, which will serve as a hub for operations in the Asia-Pacific, and the signing of a multi-million euro partnership deal with Jordan Book Centre, which will put HMH products into schools in the Middle East, as well as in North Africa and in Afghanistan and Iraq. Separate deals with Levant in the Lebanon and Tihama in Saudi Arabia will further extend HMH reach.