Entrepreneurship involves individual’s ability to convert ideas to functional services and products, and further to market success. These characteristics demand high-level of creativity and self-esteem. This is also the starting-point of the study Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs: Unlocking Entrepreneurial Capabilities to Meet the Global Challenges of the 21st Century presented at World Economic Forum 2010. Entrepreneurship should be according to the study permeated in all aspects of society, ranging from small business’s chaotic day-to day business to the intrapreneurship in a larger organization and further to school and public administration. In order to accomplish this education is required.
In contrast the old industrial society’s educational system focused on basic skills to ensure the students’ future employment. This is a vision based on Henry Ford’s assembly production line method in which every employee should focus on one small part of the chain and within this limited field become effective. This required plan economy-thinking and large-scale production, which ruined all incentives to entrepreneurship education. Not even Joseph Schumpeter’s groundbreaking work in the first half of the 2000th Century was to have any influence on the educational system. It was not until the 1970s that his ideas about entrepreneurship and creative destruction began to gain some foothold.
However, there were mitigating circumstances to that systematic rationality came to overshadow individual ability to innovation. Since the greater part of the 2000th Century was marked by famine, two world wars with enormous costs and work for rebuildingEurope and later the Cold War arms race between ideological systems. Today, all this is gone and the development slowly moves from Henry Ford’s assembly production line method to Joseph Schumpeter’s entrepreneurial dynamism and creative destruction. However, the authors of the study mentioned above claim that the transformation is going too slow and that the traditional educational system is not the springboard it should be.
“Preparing today’s students for success and eventual leadership in the new global marketplace is the most important responsibility in education today… Entrepreneurship education is an important tool to achieving these objectives [and]… should be universally available to provide all students with opportunities to explore and fulfil their potential.”
Stephanie Bell-Rose, President, Goldman Sachs Foundation and Thomas W. Payzant, Harvard Graduate School of Education
The authors of the study are top management executives in different companies and researchers from different universities around the world. This is the first time that entrepreneurship education has been studied systematically based on individual’s life-long learning. But instead of writing an historical summary of past times mistakes the study in true entrepreneurial spirit focuses on practical solutions for the future. In the second part of this article I will concentrate on school system development, while the study concerns all forms of education.
Article Author: LarsGöran Boström