Entrepreneurial Learning in Context: An Exploration of Learning Models in Different Domains

Michele Rusk, Pauric McGowan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper investigates how innovation happens in practice. The authors argue that a one-size-fits-all approach to entrepreneurship learning is inappropriate to the development of student learning. The paper describes new routes to entrepreneurship in different communities of practice. It draws on design and innovation methodology to look at entrepreneurial activity differently, combining entrepreneurial leadership with strategic design methodologies as a catalyst for transformative change. Finally it posits a model that contextualises entrepreneurial leadership (Rusk 2011). It may no longer be possible to think of entrepreneurship as we once did given the critical role of innovation for sustainability in today’s complex economic environment. The fundamental challenge is how to unlock the passion to create, make space to envision and foster resilience for sustainability; leading to individuals and communities of practice that are adaptive, flexible and resourceful, irrespective of future economic shocks. This necessitates looking at entrepreneurship from first principles. Entrepreneurship is, in essence about more than just starting a business, or developing an existing one or launching a social enterprise; these define contexts for entrepreneurship in practice and approaches to learning that are inappropriately formulaic. We must first see entrepreneurship as a particular mindset; a way of thinking that has its out workings in any of the contexts mentioned. It is also insufficient to speak of the entrepreneur in such absolutist terms that suggests some are and some are not. We have to acknowledge that there are degrees of entrepreneurship and that one can learn to be more entrepreneurial through appropriate education programmes, (Rae et al 2014; Carson et al 1995). Igniting entrepreneurial spirit and arranging the circumstances by which it can flourish is not the same as management education (Green, Patel 2013). Reinventing enterprise education involves taking a fresh approach to understanding how entrepreneurs learn and practice their skill. Consequently, innovation and entrepreneurial research needs to investigate new organisational frameworks that rely on open source (Steinberg 2010) and connected collaborative processes (Mulgan 1997). New entrepreneurial leadership methods are the catalyst to create dynamic strategic models for innovative venturing through effectuation, (Read et al 2011). The first step is to identify the threshold concepts (Mayer and Land 2006) of entrepreneurship in order to inform new enterprise education approaches that are based on the real life practice of innovation. Such research informed curriculum development would provide better tools and know how to enable future entrepreneurial leaders to tackle hitherto unforeseen scenarios. Critically, central to the discussion is the notion that entrepreneurial activity is tailored to a given circumstance or discipline domain e.g. Allied Health, ICT or Design. And that the prevailing algorisms of such a domain interact with those within entrepreneurship to produce synthesised modes of behaviour – in effect metamorphosing entrepreneurship into a hybrid that specifically fits the given domain. The paper concludes by advocating cross-domain activity for the transference of knowledge, with the objective of identifying higher order Entrepreneurial Leadership threshold concepts that would have significant bearing on future development of the discipline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    EditorsRenata Paola Dameri, Luca Beltrametti
    Place of PublicationReading, UK
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
    Number of pages840
    ISBN (Print)9781910810491
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2015


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