ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION ONLINE COURSE

Innovation through Education

by Francisco Santolo
June 2018

Thinking about something innovative connects us directly to the world of ideas. The first step is understanding that innovation goes way beyond: that no idea can turn out to be innovative without execution: that all those things that we fail to materialize do not bring the beneficial effects of true innovation. 

At the same time, thinking about entrepreneurship connects us with companies, investment, employees, offices, and money. You lose sight of what might be the most fundamental aspect: to embark on an entrepreneurial journey is, in essence, nothing more than the art of making things possible. It means abandoning what is familiar and taking an unexplored path to make our dream, vision and purpose true. It means taking a leap of faith, resisting the fear and daring to fight in order to turn our desires into reality.

Formal education in business still remains closely linked to the world of ideas, old models and concepts, detached from the reality of the profession. Against more recent theoretical learning, it still embraces planning and replaces hypothesis -or riddles- with truths, shaping a rational, explainable and predictable world. It is centered on the intellectual aspect and neglects two main components of this journey: the rational and the emotional aspects. In the midst of this lack of action and exposure, learning experiences become blurred and students' motivations fade away.

The first step to innovate in education is to renounce absolute knowledge. We have to start perceiving teachers as facilitators that work with a horizontal perspective, showing humbleness, in an ongoing learning approach, with the deep understanding that any human being can teach us from their diversity. Such teaching practice requires much more preparation and confidence than the traditional approach. The condition that makes innovation possible stems from powerfully communicating students the vision that we offer tools that will bring them closer to their dreams, desires and eventually, life purpose. In order to guarantee the effectiveness of this, they have to experience these tools- all this firsthand, applying them in initiatives that are linked to their interests-

The advances in both entrepreneurial and innovation methodologies have been very relevant and yet the best educational business institutions of the world have not updated their curricula. Leaving the current curricula behind gives way to the formulation of hypothesis, and a rapid, creative and low-cost testing environment. Thus, the results define decisions over hierarchy. Playing games, something banished after childhood becomes relevant once again. Collaboration replaces competition and allows us to highlight and celebrate the virtues of others coming from their own diversity.

Entrepreneurship means facing ourselves, our limiting beliefs and the voices of others. It means trying over and over again. It means falling down and getting back up again. It means transformation, embracing the conviction that the world can be different, for ourselves and for the others. It is not a solitary quest, nothing stems from our single action as individuals, all our achievements involve the participation of others. The training process needs to incorporate these lessons.

Entrepreneurship is making things possible and, in that sense, we all are entrepreneurs. I have the conviction that the world that is coming will find more powerful individuals, with the capacity to have an impact through the communities of which they belong to. It will no longer be a hierarchical world of corporations and governments. It will be a world of moral authority and legitimate influence. And the result will depend on us, on the new generations, that will be trained in abstract ideas, the "truth" of knowledge or the capabilities and skills to make things possible.

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