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Entrepreneurial Action = Feel + Play + Observe + Create + Think

The entrepreneurship field is asking for something new. This became evident when we presented to a standing room only audience at the recent USASBE conference in Nashville.  We presented a talk entitled “Entrepreneurship Pedagogy: Known Worlds and New Frontiers” and outlined three current worlds that entrepreneurship educators teach in.

The first is the Entrepreneur World where the emphasis is on personality and traits of successful entrepreneurs.  The Process World, our second world, teaches entrepreneurship as a series of steps from opportunity identification to venture harvest.  Finally, the third world, the Cognition World, is a world linking thinking to doing.  The Cognition World emphasizes how individuals make decisions to engage in entrepreneurial activity.  All three worlds are active today in teaching; however, the majority of our teaching today tends to lie in the process world.

Our purpose was to introduce a new world that combines the best of each of the existing worlds but also incorporates new elements that help students prepare for a new world.  We call this world the Method World.  Entrepreneurship as a method is a way of thinking and acting, built on a set of assumptions using a portfolio of techniques to create.  It goes beyond understanding, knowing, and talking and requires using, applying, and acting.  At the core of the method is practice – entrepreneurship requires practice.  We believe that learning a method is often more important than learning specific content. In an ever-changing world we need to teach methods that stand the test of dramatic changes in content and context.

We introduced a pedagogy portfolio grounded in starting businesses, serious games & simulations, design-based thinking, feasibility experiments, and reflective practice.  Combined, these pedagogies help students think and act entrepreneurially.  Starting businesses help our student feel what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. Games allow our students to play in virtual, entrepreneurial worlds. Design-based thinking encourages our students to observe the world through alternative lenses.

Finally, reflective practice is at the core of learning as our students think deeply about their actions, what they mean, and how they apply to their own entrepreneurial paths. As a matter of fact we introduced an equation of entrepreneurial action based that we’d like to conclude with here:

Entrepreneurial Action = Feel + Play + Observe + Create + Think

Heidi Neck, Associate Professor
Jeffry A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies

Patricia Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship