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Ideas on a chalk board

The entrepreneurial mindset

As we have already discovered, understanding who or what is an entrepreneur is not simple.

Many definitions focus on business and financial risk taking. However, we would argue that entrepreneurial skills and mindsets have value much more widely and for more diverse motivations and effects.

Professor Allan Gibb OBE has written extensively on entrepreneurship and enterprise. In his 2008 paper Entrepreneurship/Enterprise Education in Schools and Colleges. Insights from UK practice, Professor Gibb argues that the understanding of what entrepreneurship education is (and what it is for) has evolved yet remains largely unresolved. He suggests that it has moved away from being just about business creation to being ‘enterprising’, preparing us to be flexible and capable of taking initiative in a complex and fast changing world.

Firstly, let’s consider what we mean by ‘mindset’.

Duffy, (2009) gives us a useful definition:

‘…individuals…make up their minds about what works and what does not work and about what has merit and value and what does not. ‘Making up one’s mind’ is another way of saying that a person’s mind is set. In other words, they have established a mindset. And, these mindsets are, in fact, really attitudes fuelled by beliefs and values…

As a mindset hardens it creates a predisposition to think, believe, and do things in a particular way.’

Duffy, F. (2009). Paradigms, Mental Models, and Mindsets: Triple Barriers to Transformational Change in School Systems. Houston, Texas: Connexions, p.11

Referring back to Gibb (2008), where uncertainty and complexity exists we need to be prepared to tackle it. Therefore, our education, however formal or informal, needs to give us the practical experience of ‘being enterprising’ so that we learn the:

‘behaviours, skills and attributes … to create, cope with and enjoy change and innovation involving higher levels of uncertainty and complexity as a means of achieving personal fulfillment and organisational effectiveness.’

So the conclusion that we draw is that entrepreneurial mindsets are a set of attitudes, skills and behaviours, fuelled by our values and beliefs, that lead to ways of thinking and doing that result in creativity, innovation and effectiveness.

What do you think?

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This article is from the free online course:

The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen

Newcastle University

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