Sunday, 2 December 2012

Entrepreneurship, innovation must be taught (?)

From my point of view I believe that entrepreneurship can be encouraged but cannot be taught. This is related to the definition that each one of us is giving on entrepreneurship. I strongly believe that the main driving force for someone to become an entrepreneur is the inner need for creating something different, for making a change, for delivering something with a unique value proposition, for filling the gap. And this cannot be done without prior working experience, observation and daily accumulation of real knowledge, practices and know-how. If we see entrepreneurship simply as tools then yes, tools can be taught. If we see entrepreneurship as skills then skills can be developed. 

I believe that the role of education is not to teach entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship but to "unlock" the inner energy and willingness to engage into difference. To bring upfront an alternative picture on the table. To challenge the fact that there might be another interpretation on the way things work. Entrepreneurship, must not be seen as the solution, the medicine to unemployment. It takes one minute to realize that yes I want to make a difference but years to be able to do it. And this requires prior working experience and not simply knowledge. The era of planned economy has passed. And the most important element of entrepreneurship is passion and this cannot be taught. It can be encouraged.

This is a brief reflection on the article Entrepreneurship, innovation must be taught. Opinion: As host to top-ranked research universities, British Columbia stands much to gain from fostering talented young people By Ian McCarthy, Special to The Vancouver Sun

Ian McCarthy is professor and Canada Research Chair in Management of Technology and Operations Management at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

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