Part 1 in a three-part series on Entrepreneurship In Education for the course Education Theories, Trends, and Entrepreneurship at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences Education Entrepreneurship Master’s Degree Programme. Read part 2 by clicking here and part 3 by clicking here.
What is Education Entrepreneurship?
Individually the words entrepreneurship and education can be romanticized and idealized. Together they can conjure up some contradictions. Why is education being economized? For me, they are bound by two important words, creation, and value.
Entrepreneurship can be defined as “creating economic value through a business or enterprise.” In education entrepreneurship, the focus is on the creation of value. I define education entrepreneurship as “creating value for teaching and learning through a business or enterprise.” This can be improving assessment, developing a course or program, or introducing a new textbook.
There is also something called intrapreneurship. This is the creation of value within a pre-existing institution or organization. This is often initiated by a self-motivated individual who is looking to take action to solve a problem that already exists.
My Experience as an Education Entrepreneur
As an education entrepreneur, my experiences have primarily been intrapreneurial. First in my work as part of the National Capstone Consortium, and second, as a faculty member where I currently work.
For the consortium, I created an online platform for members to co-create knowledge and share their experiences. I saw the need for a virtual space for educators to interact outside of our one-week summer summit and so I pitched the idea to the team and was granted funding and support to develop this idea.
At the school where I work full time, I have taken on a few different intrapreneurial ventures. One was putting together a proposal to redesign our middle school math curriculum and modify our textbook sequence. What makes these intrapreneurial is they create value within an organization that already existed.
It is very important to me that I continue to work on these intrapreneurial plans. I have ideas to create online courses for professional learning for the National Capstone Consortium. I am also looking into developing systems of competency-based learning for assessment for the school where I teach.
There are some key skills I am looking to apply and develop further. The first of these is collaboration. Entrepreneurship is often seen as an individualistic act. But it requires a lot of co-creating and co-ideation.
The second is experimentation. There is a very playful mindset involved–trying new things, prototyping ideas, and riffing on ideas.
The final skill is connection. Bringing your ideas to an audience and interacting with them as they experience your creation.
Music Mindsets in Education
These key entrepreneurial skills – collaboration, experimentation, and connection are drawn from my experiences as a creative in music.*
These are three skills that I rely heavily upon as a musician and that have a direct application in the world of entrepreneurship. As an education entrepreneur, I look to create value in teaching and learning by applying these mindsets to my work.
*See my series of articles on musical mindsets for education to read more