Monday, 10 March 2008

Creativity and business in entrepreneurship education

Over the past few years I have been involved with many events and activities that have tried to stimulate creativity and buzz among undergraduates in business. It seems to me thataprt from the whole ideas generation bit, unless these are tied down in later processes with howto then communicate the value of the idea, make sense of it, commercialise it either in a pure business sense or even as a not for profit sustainable project, then all we do is stimulate frustration!

So it has been great to help design a course at Reading University where we have taken students through a creative process, linked it to business lectures on marketing, finance, team working, legal implications and so forth and had them make presentations using props at an exhibition style event.

Ofcourse as University we look to see if they have learnt anything by asking them to write up plans and essyas and the like, Our business friends who come to judge the output look to see if the ideas are actually feasible in real life and are often moved by the passion of the student teams.

So - what should we measure as success?

Creativity: That students learn tools and techniques; they learn they are capable of being creative; how others "create"; group dynamics when the objective is uncertain...

Convergent thinking: How to shape a vague idea into a business proposition; what to establish as the critical success factors; gaps in knowldeg that need to be covered; the ability for the team work to agree; individual learning about the dynamics of converging a creatiev idea...

Business: when is an idea actually economically feasible; what numbers does one need to look at; at what point should one go pubicwith the idea; the tacit knowldge required in commercialising an idea; marketing and sales questions; cash flow and planning; team leadership...

Employers wonder about this too. They want to know of the students are more fit for purpose after University, what practical skills they might bring and how quickly they canhit the ground running as well as what the potential is for future personal growth and development that can then make a difference to the business itself.

There is much work to do in order to better understand entrpreneurship education, but one thing is clear - that the process of students' learning is so different when this approach is taken - because it is also fun, that something of a seed is planted. The release of energy and enthusiasm is evident - so that is clear and easy to see, even if not to measure!

Maybe entrepreneurship education methodologies should be looked at more carefully to see if they can be transported into other subjects at University.


Unknown said...

When it comes to entrepreneurship education I can think of no better example of how it should be done than the program developed by Drs. Jim and JoAnn Carland. The Carlands possess a rare blend of practical and theoretical knowledge: As entrepreneurs they have launched several ventures, most of which have been highly successful and continue to provide an array of exceptional services. They have been consultants to hundreds of ventures large and small in both the public and private sectors. Both are also prolific researchers, earning international recognition as authorities on entrepreneurship through the publication of hundreds of articles, papers, and books. Add to that JoAnn's vast knowledge of social dynamics, personality, and behavior and you have all of the ingredients for a truly exceptional program.

The Carlands developed an entirely new approach to entrepreneurship education covering the discipline from vision to harvest. Rather than follow the traditional linear sequence of discrete subjects, their program builds upon core concepts, expanding existing knowledge while integrating new ideas in a steady and seamless exchange of knowledge.

The great success of their undergraduate curriculum led to the creation of the nation's first Master of Entrepreneurship program, which in 2005 was recognized as the best in the United States by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Graduates from their program can be found operating new ventures around the globe. Others are introducing entrepreneurial studies in a variety of two and four year colleges. The Director of the NC SBC Network also studied under them.

The Carlands are the purest of entrepreneurs, and in 2007 they left the comfort and security of established academia to create an online college dedicated solely to the study of entrepreneurship. In January Carland College was licensed to confer Batchelor and Master Degrees in Entrepreneurship.

Released from bureaucratic entanglements, the college itself is a model for entrepreneurial ventures. It is an institution where people from all walks of life, people confronted with all of the demands of daily living, have the opportunity to acquire mastery of entrepreneurship.

I believe you would find a visit to their site,, to be most worthwhile.

I have recently opened my own blog, which I hope will become a nuts and bolts resource for nascent and would be entrepreneurs, stressing the real world problems and rewards of entrepreneurship. I would be grateful if you would include this link:

nitieprasad said...

I agree with your view that there is need for us to take a relook at entrepreneurship education methods presently practiced all over the world.

I once again submit to you professor .... we at NITIE Center for Student Enterprises, Mumbai INIDIA designed new generation Entrepreneurship Education pedagogues.. titled ... Mandi and Hamara dhandha..

Request you to visit our blogs for more on this:;

Dr Mandi, Prof. of Dhandha, NITIE, Mumbai INDIA