Sunday, 6 September 2009

What is the best way to learn if you want to be an entrepreneur?

I am presently working on several projects connected with entrepreneurship education and there is inevitably a menu of ways to "teach" or "organise learning".

But before we stray into detail - the most Frequently Asked question continues to be - "can you teach it?". My response so far has been that it is no different from teaching management, music, math or geography or any other subject - it ultimately comes down to people wanting to learn. So - if we get past this basic question then we get to "how" questions.

Learning by doing? Learning through simulations? Use of case studies? From mentors and coaches? In the calss room based strongly on theory? Videos? On-line models of learning? Action learning - i.e. through problem solving and applying the lessons? and so forth.

Going back to the question - in the title - I would welcome some intelligent thoughts and comments on the subject. We are getting ready for the Advanced Diploma in two weeks time - (see www.cfel.jbs.cam.ac.uk); working on a review of education at Laurea University in Finland and thinking about scaling up entrepreneurship education on a global basis as a result of a major project for the World Economic Forum.

3 comments:

sirisha said...

Dear sir,
I believe that a combination of techniques like using case studies,meaningful lectures from coaches/Mentors periodically along with action learning would aid any individual learning to be an entrepreneur.Neverthless,this help comprises just a fraction of load taken off the individual.

As such,a successful entrepreneur is defined by numerous attributes and every single thing such as discipline,time management,social networking and communication skills matters in his/her making.
I am strictly against the theoritical approach-It is important to know the basics and some information on risks involved,planning and execution stages,innovation and strategies etc is useful,but this knowledge doesnot come to our rescue in times of crisis since we deal with practical situations and individual circumstances.

Above all,it is rather a controversial question"Are entrepreneurs born or made?" Since these people are visionaries,they ought to have creativity and imagination to see something extordinary in ordinary,the grit to make it,the passion and motivation to drive themselves.Hence,even if we are able to teach the art of entrepreneurship,a majority of course takers are bound to fail in their real life ventures since they were not prepared/ they miscalculated some response/underestimated some competitor or their product etc,even though they passed the course with a good grades.

Kate Atkin said...

Shai, great question. In my experience it is often an iterative process and the learning is recognised retrospectively.

As a trainer myself there are key pieces of knowledge which help develop skills, but often the skills themselves are developed through practice. This is why courses these days should include experiential learning, and not be chalk and talk.

Readers might like to know that membership of JCI Cambridge could support their learning at JBS and help develop "life skills" (paraphrasing the words of a past member, JFK.) see www.jcicambridge.com

Kate

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