Newcastle University is about to launch its third free online course on FutureLearn, “The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen.” It aims to recreate the creative atmosphere of a shed – or any other place where you do your best thinking and doing. Here, Katie Wray, lead “sheducator,” explains why we should all be joining her.
Firstly, let me unpack “enterprise.” For me, enterprise is about making creativity, problem solving and ideas practical. This makes it relevant across all areas of education, not just business. Where enterprise is applied to creating a new venture, it is commonly known as “entrepreneurship.”
We are increasingly aware of entrepreneurship, through the steady creation of new businesses (particularly in austere times), but also through the media. From this awareness, we can each draw our own conclusions about what an entrepreneur is; and indeed we will, in this course.
Enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level
“The Enterprise Shed” challenges a variety of definitions of the entrepreneur, and looks at enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level. On the course, you will be introduced to a whole bunch of entrepreneurial individuals and teams, not all of whom refer to themselves as “an entrepreneur.”
So that leads me to the tricky bit (where the real value of this course lies compared to the more common “how to start a business courses”): if you can be entrepreneurial (behave like an entrepreneur) without actually being an entrepreneur (starting a new business venture), who is entrepreneurial and what can you do with your entrepreneurialness*?
How to make change in your own context
We are committed to exploring this question with you throughout the course, supporting you to draw your own conclusions about how you can make change in your own context.
Our other commitment is to exploring your ideas – collecting insights into what a solution looks like and helping you to turn that idea into something tangible. Finally, we are committing to developing your network, through which you can share your ideas, and put them into action once the course has finished.
That’s where you come in. This course is about you; it is about your role, through your ideas, in creating change. There are three main reasons why you should join us in The Enterprise Shed:
1. Develop confidence in yourself as a “doer”
You will do this by analysing the behaviours of other entrepreneurial people who you will be introduced to on the course. You will draw conclusions about the way that they “do” and what you might “do” when approaching your own challenges, problems and projects.
2. Address problems you want to change
You will do this through identifying problems, sharing them with others, creating and collaborating on ideas generation, and developing solutions together with peers on the course.
3. Meet people and build networks
We will do this by forming virtual and physical networks around the globe, which can outlive the end of the course. You will meet people that share your passions and drivers to make change in your world, find out where you can go for help, and collaborate to achieve impact.
The Enterprise Shed is not just a course, but a place where you can go to think, and critically, to do.