Breaking The Paradigms In Education And Industry


The world is changing faster than most of us can grasp and at an ever-increasing rate. Traditional notions of career pathways and job descriptions are being created almost daily to the point where asking a child what they want to be when they grow up is almost a redundant question. The real question for parents and educators alike is: “how do we give our children the skills they need to not only adapt, but thrive in an increasingly uncertain future?”

Recently Study Gold Coast invited a number of innovators to address the city’s education and training sector to demystify entrepreneurship and why we need to develop enterprise skills within our curriculum to meet the needs of the 21st century workplace. Leading the discussion was Dr Baden U’Ren, Bond University’s Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leanne Kemp, Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur.

According to Dr U’Ren enterprise skills aren’t easily taught and the concept is largely misunderstood.

“Self-confidence isn’t a skill base, it comes through experience. Similarly, entrepreneurship isn’t a discipline, it’s a cross-cultural skill. We need to develop a complex set of personality characteristics for our students, but teaching in our schools isn’t geared that way, which is why we need to change our curriculum.”

The MBA Blueprint

Baden U’Ren argues that we’re stuck in a paradigm that’s been in place for well over a century. “Modern business and education principles can be traced all the way back to 1908 and the history of the MBA, which Harvard designed as a means for engineers to become managers,” he says. “The system was created to serve the needs of industrial capitalism so they could teach engineers how to manage and promote industrial products. That concept is now pervasive and is everywhere in our learning systems.”

To better prepare students to be more adaptable and flexible Dr U’Ren says we need to move away from these rigid systems and that needs to start within the structures of our teaching institutions. “Every school must have a Head of Entrepreneurship. This is crucial if we want to produce a future workforce that’s going to be relevant in their world.” 

Gold Coast Educators Participate In The Workshop

Integrated Learning

Leanne Kemp says that while schools are often keen to explore the development of enterprise skills a big part of the problem is that so many of them don’t know how to integrate the concept across the board. Entrepreneurship then ends up being siloed out as a standalone idea.

“The question we need to ask is how do we thread entrepreneurship horizontally through the curriculum? You can run design thinking workshops, but it’s not enough. Entrepreneurship is real business – it’s why we’re here.”

Kemp says we need a holistic approach and that ESTEAM (entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) is what we should be aspiring towards.

“Artificial intelligence is here to stay. If AI isn’t in your curriculum you’re already out of the game. We are living in a completely different world now that will see us living totally different lives. We need to have certainty in uncertainty. Enterprise skills will give us that, but we also need a willingness to unlearn.”

Global Commons

Leanne Kemp says we need to break down the existing models not only to equip our students for their working futures, but for our institutions too. She points out that the brand and reputation of our institutions is built on their alumni and they’re going to have to think very carefully about how and what they teach their students. Likewise, industry will have to adopt a more inventive approach to how they do business.

“The internet is the digital global commons for the world. Entrepreneurships are pushing the paradigms of business models and thought.”

One concept Kemp strongly disagrees with is disruption. She sees it as a meaningless buzzword.

“Real entrepreneurship is not about disrupting our business or career pathways, it’s all about co-evolution. Individual technologies are not only being created rapidly, but they’re converging. Entrepreneurship is about convincing the market that it needs to change. The key to entrepreneurship skill is timing. Timing is understanding when the problem needs to be solved and that’s often complex with a collision of factors in the marketplace.”

Want to find out more about Australia's favourite classroom?