The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Entreprene­urial ability definitely the way ahead

- Dr Jahangir Wasim, lecturer in entreprene­urship and innovation, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and internatio­nal bestsellin­g author of 10 Steps To Stay Open.

Entreprene­urship became this trend word over the last decade or so. TV programmes like Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank and The Apprentice gave the idea of entreprene­urs as these heroes who would revolution­ise the world with their crazy, disruptive business ideas.

The Cambridge dictionar y defines an entreprene­ur as someone who starts their own business, especially when this involves seeing a new opportunit­y.

However, in academia, the definition of the word entreprene­ur is still in its evolution where it keeps changing. There are also spin- off terms such as corporate entreprene­ur (intraprene­ur) that define a person who is being entreprene­urial within an organisati­on.

In higher education, entreprene­urship is often associated with entreprene­urial learning, entreprene­urship education and enterprise education. Each has slightly different goals and approaches to teaching.

Entreprene­urship education is focused on the start-up process, enterprise education is foc used on the skills required to be an entreprene­ur and entreprene­urial learning is how entreprene­urs learn.

Since its introducti­on to higher education in 1947, around-the-world entreprene­urship predominan­tly sits in the

business schools. This is maybe because of its roots associated with the field of economics.

However, this makes the discipline isolated. I ran an experiment a few years ago where I had business students, creative and cultural students and Stem students.

They were put into the teams where, over two days, they had to come up with new business ideas and a commercial new business idea which should have some growth potential.

Business students came up with the least number of ideas. Students from creative and cultural background­s were in the middle while the Stem students topped the class based on the number of ideas.

However, business students were better than the other two groups

when it came to scaling up those ideas. On the second day, students were mixed into multidisci­plinary teams. The quality and quantity of ideas grew exponentia­lly.

This highlights that there is a strong need to take out the entreprene­urship teaching from the business schools.

It is a creative subject and should be treated as such – to foster entreprene­urship at the university campuses we need an entreprene­urial teaching ecosystem of multi and crossdisci­plinary delivery of entreprene­urship.

The late Sir Ken Robinson, a b rilliant educationi­st, highlighte­d a very real problem in the modern- day education system, which took its form after the industrial revolution. At that time there was a need for

people that were required to do repetitive tasks in the industries. Over the years, with time and technologi­cal advancemen­ts, we have moved from a physical labour market to an intellectu­al one.

More and more companies do not need people for repetitive tasks – anything that requires repetition can be automated. Creativity now becomes as important as literacy, if not more.

I call us a transition­al generation. As a generation we are very unfortunat­e. Our parents did not have to worry about this transition of physical to intellectu­al leap because they are reaching the end of their careers.

Our children will not have to worry about that because by then the transition would have already happened. We are

the generation that will need to face the challenges of rapid and continuous adaptation of skills and individual­ity.

Companies need to see what individual skills you bring to their organisati­on that would make you different to the rest of their employees, or an app.

I believe this is the time when entreprene­urship should be rolled out as a compulsory element of teaching across the whole spectrum of education system.

This is for two reasons: Firstly, so people have the need to evaluate their prospects of becoming self-employed.

Look at it this way – if a company is paying you £ 50k a year, they are making at least £60k back from you, otherwise it will simply not be economical for them to keep you. We see this more and more.

As the technology is advancing around the world, we see people being made redundant.

Secondly, if you still want to work for a company as an employee, entreprene­urship education would help you bring out that individual­ity element.

If you go on any job portal and search for the word entreprene­ur, you will see thousands of job descriptio­ns saying they want entreprene­urial people.

Finally, contrar y to popular belief, academics are far from the picture drawn by TV shows such as the Big Bang Theory.

I love the show, but the reality is that we are practise-focused. We are business consultant­s and researcher­s. The research we do and academic publicatio­ns we write are based on the real businesses. We collect data from these companies and explore new ways to doing things. Sadly, very f ew businesses know about this or ever read academic research.

My Covid- 19- focused entreprene­urship book, 10 Steps to Stay Open, became an internatio­nal best- seller, whereas an academic article gets only a fraction of downloads over a lifetime.

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 ??  ?? FICTION: The Big Bang Theory TV show is very far from the actual reality of academics and their work.
FICTION: The Big Bang Theory TV show is very far from the actual reality of academics and their work.
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