Much has been happening recently in higher education - MOOCs, competency based degrees, alternative credentialing, Presidential (of the US, that is) statements that real increases in tuition must stop, etc. This has lead various observers to predict tsunamis, tipping points, crises, and/or disruptions for higher education.
How should one begin to analyze the possible impacts of this seemingly endless set of new "environmental conditions"? I find that a useful starting point is the business model of higher education. The following picture describing the elements of a business model is taken from a recent publication, Disrupting College, by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, Louis Caldera and Louis Soares (CHCS).
This picture emphasizes that there are four key components of a business model, and that all of these components must fit together in an interdependent way in order for the model to be viable. The lock on the picture emphasizes that no one component can be changed without causing significant changes in the other components once the model has reached a viable equilibrium.