Adobe nails the value question with Creative Cloud and announces scholarships to boot
Adobe released important research on the value of creativity worldwide; at the same time, they put their money where their mouth is, making Adobe's Creative Suite much more affordable for schools and students.
Full disclosure: I love Adobe Products, even if they are pricey
I make no secret of my love for Adobe products. I use Creative Suite 5.5 every day and as I dive deeper into the applications and become really proficient with Photoshop and InDesign in particular, I find them utterly indispensable. Their recent Touch Apps for both iOS and Android are incredibly useful creation tools for capturing ideas as you have them and the Photoshop CS6 beta has been flooring me since it was released.
I've also not pulled any punches in my assessment of their pricing, whether academic or professional. Of course, as my old economics teacher used to ask the class, "How much should you charge for a product?" We'd all answer in unison, "As much as the market will bear". Clearly, the market will bear a hefty price for industry-standard content creation tools.
Adobe tools are great, but price and learning curves have kept them from the mainstream
In education, that market has generally been limited to vocational technical high schools and colleges that require the software for specific majors or programs. However, with Monday's announcement of Creative Suite CS6 and their related Creative Cloud offering, Adobe has taken some very big steps towards making their state-of-the-art software available to a much wider audience in education (and, for that matter, in general).
With Creative Cloud, price is much less of a barrier
When Adobe first briefed me on everything that was included in their Creative Cloud subscriptions for students and teachers, I was floored. Current Creative Suite customers can subscribe for just $30 a month (with a one-year commitment); students and teachers can access the same pricing regardless of whether they currently have licensed copies of the Suite. Creative Cloud isn't exactly new (it's been around since Adobe introduced their Touch Apps, which leverage cloud storage to pass images and files between tablet apps and desktop applications), but this new subscription now includes access to the entire CS6 Master Collection (normally almost $2600 to purchase outright or $800 for students and teachers).
It also includes access to all of the Touch Apps for Android (iOS apps to follow soon; these are normally $10 a piece), Muse (the most powerful WYSIWYG web design tool I've ever seen, which had previously been announced as abandoned, but I'm thrilled that it's now under active development again; it's in beta preview currently, but will formally be included in Creative Cloud subscriptions later this year), and cloud storage and syncing (20 GB with subscription). Perhaps even more interestingly for students, Creative Cloud comes with rapid updates to software, new software (like the full version of Adobe Edge when it becomes available), and the latest available tools from the company, meaning that students can walk out of school with the absolute latest skills to take into the job market.
The value of creativity
Adobe also released the results of the "State of Create" study that it conducted this year. The study was conducted among "5,000 adults, 1,000 per country, in the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan. The research was designed to identify attitudes and beliefs about creativity and provide insights into the role of creativity in business, education and society."
You can read the study for yourself, but bottom line, adults generally value creativity and believe that it's key to economic success, but also feel that our educational institutions are stifling creativity. Only one in four people believe they are living up to their creative potential.
To help address this gap between our creative potential and our creative actions, Adobe also announced a million dollar scholarship fund for high school seniors "around the world who participate in the Adobe Youth Voices program, the scholarship will help them go to the next level with their education, pursue creative careers and find innovative ways to improve their communities."
Aside from the fact that the beta version of Photoshop CS6 so far has proved to be a truly brilliant and incredibly versatile tool, Adobe seems to have hit one out of the park with the entire Creative Cloud proposition. The commitment to education in particular and the overall elevation of creative and knowledge economy pursuits is incredibly compelling.