Educational Entrepreneurs

Following on from my reflections on adopting a more positive perspective on accountability and the connection with
venture capitalism for philanthropic purposes I was reminded of the notion of Social Entrepreneurs – which I’ve discussed in a previous blog entry.

Building on this I came across a chapter of a book relating to
Educational Entrepreneurs. I’ll explore some of the ideas emerging from this concept over the next few posts.

This extract from the chapter gives some indication of the content which overlaps with some of the ideas I’ve been exploring recently:

“Education is a very complex, highly skilled endeavor. We must develop new practices that support increased productivity and responsiveness. This includes a need for more research and development on effective instructional and management approaches. We know a great deal today about fundamental areas like reading instruction, but there is much to be learned about how to manage school systems in this new environment. One critical factor is making available more transparent, timely, and relevant information about student and school progress, which would enable educators, parents, and community leaders to make more informed decisions and set the stage for entrepreneurs to create new approaches and organizations based on need.

In a system governed by the principles of dynamic equilibrium, entrepreneurs may be both important vehicles for getting there and permanent participants in this new environment. By imagining how education can be improved, thinking beyond the current rules and resources, creating new organizations to execute their vision and inspiring others to follow, entrepreneurs may be agents of continuous improvement in public schooling.”

I believe that there is a role for entrepreneurs within our education system. Some of them may be head teachers but others may operate at a range of differnt levels within and outwith the organisation. Our challenge is to identify, support enable these entrepreneurs to influence the system wherever they are.

Are you an entrepreneur – or has the system ground you down?

Social Entrepreneurship

Picking up on a theme that Charles Leadbeater described on Thursday I’ve been exploring the concept of
social entrepreneurship

A social entrepreneur is someone who works in an entrepreneurial manner, but for public or social benefit, rather than to make money. Social entrepreneurs may work in ethical businesses, governmental or public bodies, quangos, or the voluntary and community sector.

While entrepreneurs in the business sector identify untapped commercial markets, and gather together the resources to break into those markets for profit, social entrepreneurs use the same skills to different effect. For social entrepreneurs, untapped markets are people or communities in need, who haven't been reached by other initiatives.

But while they may read from a different bottom line, social and business entrepreneurs have a lot in common. They build something out of nothing. They are ambitious to achieve. They marshal resources – sometimes from the unlikeliest places – to meet their needs. They are constantly creative. And they are not afraid to make mistakes.

I was fascinated to read that one of my heroes John Muir – an ex-pupil of DunbarGrammar School is regarded as a leading social entrepreneur.

Found a great article by Howard Gardener on
“Are Social Entrepreneurs the new leaders?”

The more a read about social entrepreneurship the more I thought what a liberating model for school leadership. I can’t think of a better definition of what school leaders are trying to do.

Another more academic
article on social entrepreneurship