Entrepreneurship Requires Practice
Entrepreneurship is often thought of as a process – a process of identifying an opportunity, understanding resource requirements, acquiring resources, planning, and implementing. But the word “process” assumes known inputs and known outputs as in a manufacturing process. For example, building a car on an assembly line is a manufacturing process. You know all the parts; you know how they fit together; and you know the type of car you will have at the end. A process is quite predictable. Entrepreneurship is not predictable.
This is why I say that entrepreneurship is more of a method than a process. A method represents a body of skills or techniques; therefore, teaching entrepreneurship as a method simply implies that we are helping students understand, develop, and practice the skills and techniques need for productive entrepreneurship.
Teaching entrepreneurship as a method requires going beyond understanding, knowing, and talking; it requires using, applying, and acting. Entrepreneurship requires practice.
This is what we address in our Symposia for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE) program. Participants have a dual role. We simulate a classroom environment where participants assume the role of students so they can experience the various pedagogies we are using to teach entrepreneurship as a method. The other role participants’ play is that of a reflective educator. The SEE program does not exist to dictate a particular way of teaching entrepreneurship. On the contrary, the SEE program creates a platform for all of us to start thinking about the next levels of entrepreneurship education. The SEE program is a combination of what Babson does best plus what we (Babson and participants) can create together for the future of entrepreneurship education.
It’s hard to address in analytical terms the impact of SEE programs on faculty around the world, but we have heard time and time again that we have built a global network of like-minded educators who see the extraordinary value and power of entrepreneurship. This international exchange is unique. Even in the last Babson SEE Santander program we had 10 countries represented in a group of 30 – that’s a very eclectic group that creates a wonderful and exciting foundation for co-creation. The exchange in the classroom was spirited and ideas were flowing. The electricity in our SEE programs can only be experienced because it’s difficult to put into words what happens when passion, expertise, and creativity collide for the purpose of enhancing entrepreneurship education.
Heidi Neck, Associate Professor
Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies