In our previous blog post, “The Entrepreneur Imperative, Part I” we covered why entrepreneurship is so important. But is it something you have to be born with, or is it something you can learn? We resoundingly come down on the “learn” side of the argument. Which begs the question: How do we do it? Here’s a closer look.
Teaching -- and Learning -- Entrepreneurship
Researchers from The Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College in London made a big buzz with their determination that “37 to 48 percent of the tendency to be an entrepreneur is genetic.”
Does this mean game over for you if you don’t have a successful entrepreneur on your family tree? Not at all, say insiders. Why not? Because environment is just as if not more vital.
As DNA Diagnostics Center Chief Science Officer Michael Baird told NextShark, “It’s certainly possible that a person could inherit the genes to be an entrepreneur -- I say genes because it’s likely a combination of genes, not a single gene. It could be a combination of genes that makes a person a leader, a risk taker, or other entrepreneurial traits that are potentially inherited from our parents. Environmental factors combined with the DNA we inherit could also trigger entrepreneurial characteristics.”
In other words, while genetics may give some people the inside entrepreneurial edge, inputs like family, culture, education, and experience are also key parts of the entrepreneurial equation.
Creating a Winning Program
Entrepreneurship has always been a fundamental part of our 9 GEMS framework, but the establishment of the Global Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GCIE) takes our commitment to new levels. Its aim? To begin the process of inspiring innovation and igniting entrepreneurship skills among our students at an early age and to continue to reinforce them over the course of each student’s complete academic experience.
It’s one thing to talk about the need to teach entrepreneurship, but something else entirely to develop a truly effective program. For guidance, GIIS sought out the expertise of leaders in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, including faculty from INSEAD (#1 on the Financial Times’ “Global MBA Ranking 2017”); Western (Ivey) (#1 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2015 ranking of full-time international MBA programs); and Tsinghua University (#1 on QS University’s 2016 ranking of the top universities in China).
This exchange was integral to facilitating the creation of a world-class curriculum for our own students, as well as to the genesis of our innovative Entrepreneurship Boot Camp program, during which students take an experiential journey led from the inception of an idea through pitching to real investors. Led by global luminaries in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, the course gives students something we truly believe is a differentiator between GIIS and other schools: practice.
In a Forbes piece on why “practicing entrepreneurship” matters, Candida Brush, Franklin W. Olin Chair in Entrepreneurship and Vice Provost of Global Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, stressed that a non-conventional, non-linear approach promotes an optimal culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Her argument? “Applying a creative approach to entrepreneurship is a means to generate more novel ideas and approaches to solving problems. Creativity is by nature socially interactive, and is rooted in what you know, your own personal experiences and understandings. So how do we teach this? In the first place we need to get away from lectures, standard discussions and other traditional pedagogies. Instead, we need to help students overcome their fears that they are not creative and try new things.”
This is exactly what GIIS is doing with our Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, which -- through early and ongoing exposure -- instills in our students essential entrepreneurial and innovatory mindsets required of truly future-ready individuals.