VCP List expands and gets new layout and classification


It was long overdue, but finally VCP List has been given a new layout based on a new classification, and thereby also a new section covering also Value Creation Pedagogy. The importance of classification work is here illustrated by a picture of Charles Darwin accompanying this blog post.

Over the years our research on Venture Creation Programs (VCP1) has morphed and expanded into research on Value Creation Pedagogy (VCP2). It all started with the realization that students creating value for others was the “active substance” of Venture Creation Programs (rather than the fact that they start a legal entity). And when we took this idea of learning-through-creating-value-for-others outside of Venture Creation Programs, it turned out that it was possible to reach really strong effects without having to go through the complex process of starting a new venture. Achieving the sought-after effects (or at least parts of them) without having to spend the capital and human labor cost of running a venture creation program. Thus, a better deal for taxpayers. More bang for the buck.

This process has taken some years, and I’ve been quite confused around the resulting semantics. When people in the UK started to call Value Creation Pedagogy for VCP, confusion accelerated. We had all from the start used the “VCP” acronym for Venture Creation Programs, and suddenly people started to use this same acronym for something else that was very much related, but still a different animal. And also within Venture Creation Programs, there was significant confusion. What IS a Venture Creation Program? What is NOT a Venture Creation Program? Is Team Academy a Venture Creation Program? Is Young Enterprise a Venture Creation Program? A vexing issue indeed. Lots of emails were sent back and forth between people in Sweden, UK, Finland and USA on this issue.

I have spent 7 years now thinking about these semantic and typological issues. My first attemt to categorize different types of entrepreneurial education was in 2013 in my licentiate thesis (you can download it under the Resources tab). There I had a five-pronged typology, which has almost survived to present day:

  1. Not action-based entrepreneurial education
  2. The Creation approach
  3. The Value Creation approach
  4. The Venture Creation approach
  5. The Sustainable Venture Creation approach

This classification survived more or less unaltered all the way until 2018 when I wrote my conference paper to the 3E conference in Enschede, Netherlands. There I did a renewed attempt at classifying entrepreneurial education into this typology:

  1. Traditional entrepreneurial education (TEE)
  2. Creation-based entrepreneurial education (CEE)
  3. Value creation-based entrepreneurial education (VaCEE)
  4. Venture creation-based entrepreneurial education (VeCEE)
  5. Sustainable venture creation-based entrepreneurial education (SVEE)

Very similar to the 2013 version thus. And in our JSBM article we included a similar classification, skipping step 1, thus becoming:

  1. Creation activities
  2. Value creation activities
  3. Venture creation activities
  4. Sustainable venture development activities

But there was a vexing problem here. We call our program at Chalmers a VCP, since way back in 2011, and in numerous articles that are published and thus “freezed” in their form. But in the above classifications, VCPs end up as Sustainable Venture Creation approach / program / activities. It did not match. Neither in my head nor on the VCP List website.

Finally, towards the end of 2018, my old hosting supplier for the VCP List website said “Now we are throwing away this crappy old site from 2010, its technical end-of-life has been reached”. So I had to do something. After a lot of discussions and anguish within our research team, we ended up with the following classification typology:

  1. Traditional Pedagogy (TP)
  2. Idea and Artifact Creation Pedagogy (IACP)
  3. Value Creation Pedagogy (VaCP)
  4. Mini-Venture Creation Programs / Pedagogy (mini-VeCP)
  5. Full-Venture Creation Programs (full-VeCP) – since they always require a program due to complexity

This classification will be used in a paper I currently have in review in a scholarly journal, assuming that it survives peer review and my own thought processes. And I think it solves some problems. Based on this classification, Team Academy, Young Enterprise and other approaches are classified as mini-VCPs (using VCP as meaning Venture Creation Programs). Programs such as the Chalmers program are classified as full-VCPs. The differentiating factor is then whether the intention is to continue the operation of the venture after graduation or not. In the case of Team Academy and Young Enterprise, it is quite clear that the intention is to liquidate the venture towards the end of the education (I’ve checked this extensively). And in the Chalmers case (and other similar programs, see full-VCP list), the opposite situation is very clearly articulated. If the venture is successful and if one or more of the students want(s) to continue working with it, there is a clear process in place to facilitate further development of the venture after graduation. And the possibility to continue after graduation is a real possibility that boosts student motivation considerably. This difference is so significant that I think it merits two different levels in a classification / typology scheme.

I have now used this classification to build the new VCP List website. Value Creation Pedagogy is labeled VCP2 (it could have been VaCP though, and I might even switch to that later on). And Venture Creation Programs are labeled VCP1 – encompassing both mini-VCPs and full-VCPs. So finally, this meant that I could redesign the website so that it caters to both of the two main areas where we do research – Value Creation Pedagogy and Venture Creation Programs (mainly full-VCPs then). It is thus a much needed expansion of the website, and a more updated presentation of what our research is about.

On the new VCP List, the ambition is to list not only full-Venture Creation Programs, but also mini-Venture Creation Programs and Value Creation Pedagogy examples. I have not yet figured out how to manage this much bigger task of listing and classifying different cases of entrepreneurial education. And I have not yet decided whether or not we will describe IACP examples.

I cannot make up my mind about IACP. The effects are weak from this type of intervention (see our recent JSBM article). And definitions are fuzzy and contested. But on the other hand, it offers an easy way to get started by brainstorming ideas in the classroom. Still, I think that it is perhaps more interesting to brainstorm ideas if there is a clear intention already from the start to try to create something of value for an external person. Not just sit and talk in the classroom. That prospect of getting “real” changes the entire experience, to the better in my view. Future will tell what will happen with this issue.

But now the new website is finally up. With a fresh WordPress template too. And I am open for suggestions from people who want to contribute with case descriptions of VCP1 (both mini and full approaches) as well as of VCP2. There is no workflow for it yet, so just drop me a line and we’ll figure something out.




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