Tomorrow I am in Sundsvall talking to around 200 school management people. My task is to give a background on entrepreneurial education / learning, and to propose some ideas for the future to school managers in Sundsvall in their ambitious mission to become Sweden’s most successful school municipality by the year 2021 in a prestigious ranking by SKL. They found me through a Youtube film I published 1,5 years ago on my research, and they have identified my idea of learning-by-creating-value as an interesting strategy to achieve educational excellence (the idea is outlined in my dissertation here). It goes well with their focus on improving the value creation ability of the public sector in Sundsvall, a mission articulated by the “managing director” of Sundsvall, Stefan Söderlund. I have spent the last couple of weeks outlining three ideas that hopefully can inspire them to achieve their goals. These three ideas are outlined below.
Idea 1: Focus on the how-to question. Articulating ambitious goals is the easy part, whereas the difficult part is identifying stategies that really work. Drawing on my proxy theory stipulating that instead of focusing on the entrepreneurial competencies, we should focus on the critical events leading to developed entrepreneurial competencies. Applied to general schooling this means that school authorities should identify critical events that they believe create a superior school, and then steer the schools towards generating such critical events, for example making students interact with the outside world, create value to outside stakeholders and work for prolonged time in teams, preferably months or even years.
Idea 2: Change perspective on value creation. Instead of asking outside stakeholders to create value to the students by participating in class and giving guest lectures etc, students should be asked to create value to external stakeholders, leading to deep learning and increased sense of meaningfulness and relevancy. Here I relate to John F Kennedy’s famous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.
Idea 3: Measure in new ways. Beating the competition means you have to innovate. An old saying is that what you measure is also what you get. So if you want to improve your results one way can be to try articulating novel indicators of success and measure them across the entire municipality with novel IT-based methods, replacing the good old yearly student questionnaire on goal-related factors. I propose an integration of the three aspects formative assessment, systemic quality assurance and in-depth project outcome review. This approach is based on my research recently published on an emotion based approach to assessing entrepreneurial education, published here.
These three ideas could hopefully inspire some people in Sundsvall. Here are my slides (Framtidsinspiration Sundsvall 140917 handouts) in Swedish from my talk. Please come back to me in seven years and I will tell you if they made it to the top!