The need for student innovation and entrepreneurship

The need for student innovation and entrepreneurship

By 2020, India’s population is expected to become the world’s youngest; more than 500 million Indian citizens will be under 25 years of age and more than two-thirds of the population will be eligible to work. This means that a growing number of India’s youth need the right educational infrastructure to develop skills and adequate opportunities to get employed or become entrepreneurs.

Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in the national mindset regarding entrepreneurship.
Indian youth have shown significantly higher level of interest in starting new ventures.

Dynamic individuals

Entrepreneurs can lead change, be innovative, create employment, make a social impact, accelerate economic growth, be role models for friends, family and society. So, even if every student does not become an entrepreneur, it is imperative that they be trained to develop the ability to think like one. It will give them the opportunity and space to really get into the depths of their interest area and further develop their skill sets. Creative skills are learned, not from sitting in a classroom, but by experiencing and applying creative thinking processes.

According to Ken Robinson, an author, speaker and international educationist, we learn to be innovative and entrepreneurial by exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesising information. Traditional education’s emphasis on conformity, compliance and a linear path stifles this.

It’s not surprising then that a significant number of successful and innovative
entrepreneurs learned to follow their curiosity and think differently. Google, for instance, didn’t begin as a brilliant vision or ingenious idea, but as a
project to improve library searches. It sparked a series of small discoveries that eventually unlocked a revolutionary business model.

True education through innovation can only happen when we look at individuals beyond their skills. Only when we begin acknowledging that students are people with a very dynamic inner lives and not just human resources that we can
create and facilitate free thinking. It is only when people break out of their own prejudices that they can innovate. Innovation cannot happen within closed doors. It can only happen when people step out of their comfort zone. Treat the entire city as a studio where learning can happen
anywhere, inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. It is only when one goes out that one starts really seeing and experiencing. Innovation can only
happen when there is experiential learning.
It is only then does one start creating

Creating leaders of value

Teaching innovative and entrepreneurial-thinking to students can help them understand entrepreneurial reasoning and behaviour and expose them to the idea that there’s actually a different way to think, a different way to behave than what is typically reinforced in the education system. The indicative measures of success need to be reimagined for exploring new paradigms in social innovation.

No more can the measures of entrepreneurial success be based on human efficiency. They must be centred around creating value. And that has to start right in the institutions of learning. We must imagine beyond the usual managers as entrepreneur ecosystems for any real disruption to happen. Managers don’t disrupt, they maintain the status quo. We must produce innovators instead of managers in our schools.

At the same time, entrepreneurs can sustain their business only if they have an innovative idea or the ability to present an old business in an innovative manner. If the last decade belonged to technological innovation, the next decade belongs to start-ups and collaboration. And a culture of ideating and solving problems starts when education is co-created between the learners and the teachers.

The traditional didactic method of transferring knowledge is dead. That role has taken over by Google!
Education now needs to inspire learners and push them to discover their hidden potential, shape them through mentoring and direct them on how to start. Learning to be relevant tomorrow, means being
experiential now! And experiences get built through culture of experimenting, collaborating and solving real-time problems.

By the end of this decade, projections show that one in six people worldwide will be entrepreneurs. That’s more than one billion people! Shouldn’t education, especially higher education, make the process easier?

(The author is the Head – School of Creative Business, Pearl Academy)

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