Since spending a weekend immersed in startup culture recently, I have been considering deeply what lessons those of us in education could learn from what is often despicted as an alien world to ours. Business and enterprise are sometimes seen by teachers to be all about money, but in many ways they are as much about thinking.
One of the things that struck me about those with a business background I met at the recent ‘Startup Weekend’ was their willingness to get stuck in to something they knew nothing about. One investment banker I spoke with had spent a considerable time surveying the market for online learning for gaps, and having found one was well underway plugging it. Their experience in education was minimal, but that didn’t stop them doing what needed to be done to fill that gap in the market.
This evening I found myself in a presentation for an opportunity for an intensive research coaching programme. Problem was I had misinterpreted the ad, and it was exclusively available for research into healthcare, of which I know nothing. I quickly engineered an opportunity to leave, but my business minded colleague kept us put. As far as I know he knows as little about health research as me, but after twenty minutes he pitched an idea that was accepted by those presiding over the programme as being as interesting as the well thought through plans of the health professionals in the room.
In business you don’t have to be an expert get started on the road to success. In fact, the often misinterpreted discipline of coaching that has emerged from business and sports actually defines people who know nothing about a discipline as the best people to move on the thinking of those immersed in it (Whitmore, 2002).
Business minded people seem to have a propensity to get stuck in to things whether they feel like experts or not. Perhaps they have their finger on the best way to end up being successful; to have a go, and to start.
Photo: (cc) velo_city on Flickr
Whitmore, Sir J. Coaching for Performance (2002).