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Another Christmas 2020 wish: What If…

Norris Krueger

What if we brought together most of the world’s very best entrepreneurship/innovation educators… the very best thinkers and doers? Sharing that thinking and doing? Creating a solid program for assessing the impacts of entrepreneurship and innovation training? Helping communities to become best in class themselves?

What would you want them to do? Design the pluperfect K-12 innovation education program? Figure out how to get universities to actually listen? Show the entrepreneurs and innovators how their help is essential? Help us identify the very best trainers of lean startup, design thinking, etc.? (Including our own hidden gems?) Best of all, how students are an untapped secret weapon? The best theory and practice should matter, eh? So should the best thinkers and doers. Best of all…

If we do this right, we can start growing our own best and brightest! And guess what…

These education leaders are already convening. For now, virtually and with a MOOC fast developing. Interested?  The impact assessment tool? Already available for testing (https://epic.ecorys.com**). Interested?

But what if these leaders convened physically? Imagine the impact of having all these global experts in one place for a few days demonstrating their best work for local students, showing how to make it a community effort and laying the groundwork for a center of excellence to accelerate learning.

Convening in, say… Boise? (Boise State University President Marlene Tromp, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, Idaho State Board of Education Chair Debbie Critchfield… interested in hosting??)

If you want great entrepreneurial social capital (ecosystems), you need to build great entrepreneurial human capital. (For example, see https://bit.ly/AmNewBizPlan.) Any healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem offers a myriad of great learning opportunities, both formal and informal. Having that diverse mix is a great driver of evolving ecosystems. But only if these are great learning experiences. Grade A learning experiences can be worth 10x a grade B experience.

Spoiler alert: the key is deep experiential learning that we all claim to be doing… but we are not. We certainly don’t know if we are. This crew of experts knows what makes innovation learning truly experiential and how to ensure we are moving the needle for learners. It will be disruptive, even subversive, but isn’t that exactly what innovation and entrepreneurship are all about?

All I want for Christmas 2020 for entrepreneurial learners and those trying to grow a more innovative Idaho is more A/A+ learning opportunities. I promise to do my part to keep nudging to jump-start an end to the “amateur night” that seems endemic in developing entrepreneurial, innovative economies.

I am amazed that communities are OK with mediocre offerings in formal entrepreneurship classes and informal workshops. Why settle for C+/B- level training when it would be easy to do B+/A-… maybe even A/A+ grade training? Why do we settle? It won’t even cost very much, probably less than we already spend. And the “right stuff” is at our fingertips.

“Good Enough” is NOT. Idaho could be a shining beacon of how to do brilliant entrepreneur training. Who in Idaho wouldn’t want us to be No. 1?

So why not bring the world’s best and brightest to Idaho? Help us develop uniquely Idaho educational innovations. There IS plenty of foundation, federal and private money to get this going right now.

As an added bonus, think about how easy and affordable it would be for Idaho to create a Center of Excellence for Innovation. Engage and serve all the educational institutions, private industry, students, the best support groups (see last column) and more. Create the roadmap for maximizing Idaho’s innovation potential. Build an education ecosystem for innovation that can’t help but help all educators as well as innovators across the region. Did I mention there’s already money?

Doesn’t Idaho deserve A, even A+, Entrepreneurial Learning Opportunities?

Better programming, better instructors, better support?

And a more innovative, more entrepreneurial Idaho?

Greatness IS a choice. For Christmas 2020, I wish for entrepreneurial learners that their communities choose greatness.

Entrepreneur Up, Y’all…

** more here: bit.ly/EEEPHEIC1

P.S. to those outside of Idaho, all this applies pretty universally (hint, hint).

Norris Krueger is a Goal Champion for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s ESHIP initiative to grow ecosystem building. He is also a leading academic expert on growing entrepreneurial communities, active mentor for Venture Capital.Org and a much-decorated entrepreneurship educator and global consultant to OECD, EU and others. He can be reached at Norris.krueger@gmail.com, on social media or at www.norriskrueger.com/my-last-12-months.

About Norris Krueger