A curriculum for entrepreneurial creativity and resourcefulness in New Zealand
Meldrum, Raymond John
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1482
This thesis asks: ‘How can tertiary education nurture entrepreneurial creativity?’ Entrepreneurship is considered to be a vital determinant of economic growth and the entrepreneur is understood as someone who innovates and commercialises their own innovation. The setting is New Zealand which is struggling to make the shift from relying on primary production to becoming a ‘creative economy.’ The creative individual has been identified as a new mainstream but it is argued that in New Zealand, education provision is inadequate for supporting the development of the practice of entrepreneurship. The problem is not unique. Various writers are critical of business education generally, and of the mismatch between the passion and chaos in entrepreneurs’ lives and the way education programs are typically organised as a linear sequence of discipline-based courses with prescribed content, activities and outcomes. Rich data were gathered from in-depth interviews with twelve nascent, new or experienced entrepreneurs and two associates (one a marketer, the other a scientist). Each participant was drawn from a different area of economic endeavour. They were asked to share their stories and views about creativity, the connections between creativity and entrepreneurship, business success, formal and informal education, and ways to improve tertiary education programs. The research found that a suitable environment for nurturing creativity will most likely have structure but will also enable chaos. It will present opportunities for experiencing diversity, and will stimulate unconscious and conscious mental processes. It will provide scope for hard work that is fun and involves authentic risk-taking, and will enable both individual and purposeful teamwork. The study also found that business success is not based on knowledge but is rather about being resourceful. The becoming of the creative entrepreneur thus includes developing capability to network with peers and mentors and communicate with customers and staff, and developing passion for and resilience in the pursuit of a dream. The findings suggest that in an age of uncertainty, nurturing entrepreneurial creativity and resourcefulness requires learning to be viewed as a practice-based community process where knowing and doing are interwoven with being. It is argued that this needs to align with Ronald Barnett and Kelly Coate’s (2005) notion of ‘a curriculum for engagement.’ It is suggested that an entire program might simply invite students to work collaboratively to identify and exploit an entrepreneurial opportunity by producing and commercialising an appropriate product/service innovation; to undertake this work as two separate projects – one within an existing organisation, and the other as a new venture; and to theorise their work. It is proposed that a suitable framework lies in William Doll’s (2002) advocacy for a curriculum based on a matrix of five Cs: ‘currere,’ complexity, cosmology, conversation, and community. To these, creativity is added as a sixth C.