Bringing Generative AI into the Curriculum

Written by Ranjit Das

As educators, we have an imperative to consistently evolve how we teach and assess students to ensure they are developing the future-focused skills required to thrive amid rapid technological change. Generative AI is arguably the most transformative technological shift of our era, and rather than being insulated from it, our learners need to be immersed in these tools and their implications.

That’s why for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year, I’ll be completely revamping a major case study assignment for my masters module – leading and managing startups. Instead of providing students with a pre-written business case scenario to analyse, they will leverage generative AI like Claude or ChatGPT to design their own original 2500-word case studies from scratch.

The new assignment challenges students to first define the background of a fictitious startup company they envision, including the initial product/service, founding story, and early market traction. They then outline key parameters around two domains where the company would likely face significant scaling challenges as it rapidly grows, such as operations, human resources, leadership, marketing, IT, and more.

Using a generative AI model, students will iteratively refine prompts to have the AI construct a dynamic, contextually rich 2500-word narrative that explores how those escalating scaling challenges could realistically unfold for their hypothetical startup. What bottlenecks might it hit? What risks and constraints must be navigated? What potential solutions and best practices could be implemented?

By driving this entire case study creation process, students gain vital experience in AI prompt engineering – strategically scoping prompts and leveraging an AI’s language abilities to transform that prompt into a nuanced, multi-faceted business narrative. It’s a form of human-AI co-creation that requires continuously refining inputs based on the AI’s outputs.

But the benefits go beyond just procedural experience with generative AI. This revised assignment design synthesises many core pedagogical priorities:

  • Developing critical thinking and problem-solving by having students grapple with open-ended challenges without prescribed resolutions.
  • Promoting self-directed learning as students synthesize domain knowledge to effectively scope and critique their AI-generated case studies.
  • Facilitating more authentic skill application by blending theoretical concepts with dynamic, contextual business scenarios.
  • Nurturing responsible innovation by having students evaluate the AI model’s blind spots and consider ethical implications.
  • Cultivating written and oral communication abilities through crafting well-structured cases and presenting findings

To help prepare students, I’ll provide support in the form of an example case I created using Gen-AI to illustrate well-scoped versus poor case study prompts. There will also be workshop sessions where they get feedback on draft prompts and outputs.

Additionally, the assignment will have built-in points for peer review. Students will share their AI-generated cases, provide and receive feedback on areas that need greater nuance or realism, and have opportunities to further refine their narratives through this iterative critique process.

The final deliverable will involve students presenting a comprehensive rationalization of their case study – the context and plausibility of their fictitious company, the key scaling challenges they chose to focus on, their prompt engineering approach, the AI’s strengths and limitations they had to navigate, ethical considerations around its outputs, and their proposed frameworks for effectively analysing the case.

I’m under no illusion that this revised assessment instantaneously solves all our pedagogy challenges. It’s simply an iterative step in evolving how we mindfully incorporate generative AI’s capabilities into curriculum design for more engaging, higher-order learning experiences. I look forward to getting student feedback and continually refining the approach.

But I am confident that immersing learners in these human-AI co-creation processes is vital for developing core competencies they’ll need. If we want our curricula to remain relevant and prepare graduates for future workforce demands, we must thoughtfully integrate generative AI into assessments and pedagogy. This new case study assignment strives to put that principle into practice in an authentic, purposeful way. I’m excited to pilot it next year and continue adapting our approaches to harness generative AI’s creative potential responsibly.

How will a change in the UK Government affect Enterprise Education in Higher Education?

Written by Dave Bolton

Changes in government can have profound impacts on various sectors, including education. Enterprise education, which focuses on equipping students with entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, is particularly sensitive to policy shifts. As the UK potentially faces a new government, it is crucial to understand how these changes might influence enterprise education within higher education institutions.

1. Policy Priorities and Funding

The priorities of the new government will play a significant role in shaping enterprise education. A government that prioritizes innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth is likely to increase funding and support for enterprise education programs. This could manifest in several ways:

  • Increased Funding: More financial resources allocated to universities for developing and expanding enterprise education programs.
  • Grants and Scholarships: Introduction of new grants and scholarships specifically aimed at encouraging students to engage in entrepreneurial activities.
  • Research and Development: Enhanced support for research in entrepreneurial education, leading to more advanced and effective teaching methods.

Conversely, a government with different priorities might reduce funding, making it more challenging for universities to maintain or grow their enterprise education offerings.

2. Regulatory Environment

The regulatory environment established by the new government will also impact enterprise education. Regulations can either facilitate or hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills among students:

  • Ease of Starting a Business: Simplified regulations and reduced bureaucratic hurdles for starting new businesses can encourage more students to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Intellectual Property Laws: Strong protections for intellectual property can incentivize innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty.
  • Immigration Policies: Policies that attract international students and entrepreneurs can enrich the entrepreneurial ecosystem within universities.

A government that promotes a business-friendly regulatory environment can significantly boost enterprise education by making it easier for students to translate their ideas into viable businesses.

3. Curriculum and Pedagogical Approaches

Government policies can influence the curriculum and teaching methods employed in enterprise education. A supportive government might encourage the integration of entrepreneurship across various disciplines and promote experiential learning approaches:

  • Curriculum Integration: Encouraging the inclusion of entrepreneurial courses in diverse academic programs, ensuring that all students have access to enterprise education regardless of their major.
  • Experiential Learning: Promoting hands-on, practical learning experiences such as internships, incubators, and startup competitions.
  • Industry Collaboration: Fostering partnerships between universities and industry to provide students with real-world entrepreneurial experiences and mentorship opportunities.

4. Support for Technology and Innovation

Enterprise education often intersects with technological innovation. A government that prioritizes technological advancement can create a conducive environment for enterprise education:

  • Tech Infrastructure: Investment in technology infrastructure within universities can provide students with the tools they need to innovate and develop new business ideas.
  • Innovation Hubs: Establishing and supporting innovation hubs and technology parks that serve as incubators for student-led startups.
  • Research Grants: Providing grants for research in emerging technologies can spur entrepreneurial ventures in cutting-edge fields.

5. Cultural and Societal Attitudes

Government rhetoric and policies can shape societal attitudes towards entrepreneurship. A government that actively promotes an entrepreneurial culture can inspire more students to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path:

  • Public Campaigns: Launching campaigns that highlight the importance and benefits of entrepreneurship.
  • Success Stories: Showcasing successful entrepreneurs, particularly those who have emerged from university programs, to inspire current students.
  • Educational Outreach: Engaging with secondary schools to foster an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, creating a pipeline of future university students interested in enterprise education.

Conclusion

A change in the UK government has the potential to significantly impact enterprise education in higher education institutions. By understanding the possible changes in policy priorities, regulatory environments, curriculum approaches, support for technology and innovation, and cultural attitudes, universities can better prepare for and adapt to these shifts. Ultimately, the goal should be to create an environment that nurtures and supports the entrepreneurial aspirations of students, enabling them to become the innovators and business leaders of tomorrow.

What can enterprise educators learn from innovation coaching?

Written by Professor Marcus O'Dair

Innovation coaching is a relatively niche phenomenon. But one of the companies offering it is Strategyzer. Could it become as ubiquitous in enterprise education as the Business Model Canvas?

What is coaching?

‘Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance. it is helping them learn rather than teaching them.’ To me, these words encapsulate coaching pretty well. So they should: they come from John Whitmore (2017: 12-13), the man who developed the highly influenced GROW coaching model and who played a huge role in developing the coaching industry in general.

While the terms ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ are sometimes used interchangeably, there are differences in emphasis. Mentors tend to pass on advice, based on their own experiences. They give answers. Coaches, by contrast, ask questions. The idea is to help clients solve their own problems. Knowledge is co-created rather than handed down. Mentoring, I have suggested on my blog, is like learning from Mr Miyagi. Coaching, by contrast, is like learning from Socrates.

What has coaching got to do with enterprise education?
I first came across coaching in the context of enterprise education on a visit to Mondragon University in Bilbao, during which I discovered the Team Academy model of enterprise education. Team Academy in fact originated in Finland. And, thanks to Akatemia, I’ve since had the opportunity to see it in Jyväskylä and Tampere too. I’ve also seen how it has been adapted in the UK, for instance at University of the West of England and Aston University, where I am currently studying for a postgraduate certificate in team coaching.

Team Academy has influenced our approach to enterprise education at my university too, for instance the MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation at London College of Fashion, with its pedagogy (or heutagogy) of self-determined learning. In fact, the reason I was at Mondragon in the first place is ultimately down to colleagues including former EEUK director Dan Henderson, LCF’s Associate Dean for Enterprise. 

What is innovation coaching?

Innovation coaching – which, to be clear, is also offered by companies other than Strategyzer – is a particular kind of coaching.

I am not talking about coaches known for working in organisations associated with innovation, like Kim Scott, who has coached CEOs at Dropbox and the company then known as Twitter, or the late Bill Campbell, who coached at Google and Apple. While no doubt great coaches, Scott and Campbell are known for working more or less within the standard coaching model – the one kind I learned on my Postgraduate Certificate in executive coaching. This involves working with leaders to improve performance. (The John Whitmore book from which I take my opening quote is actually called Coaching for Performance.)

When I talk about innovation coaching, instead, I am talking about a form of team coaching that focuses on helping teams to generate and test ideas in order to develop new business models and value propositions. While traditional coaching seeks to improve the status quo, in other words, innovation coaching seeks to disrupt it.

Sounds good. How do I learn more?

One reason for the success of the business model canvas is that Alex Osterwalder and his collaborators are very good at visual communication. The canvas, for instance, broke down business models into nine blocks. And Strategyzer have done the same for innovation coaching, which they break into six stages. The first three – ideate, prototype, assess – relate to business design. The idea is to go through these first three stages quickly, perhaps in an hour or two, using tools such as the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas. The second three stages – hypothesise, experiment, learn – relate to testing. The idea here is to articulate and then test your assumptions through experiment after experiment.

This all reminds me less of coaching than of Scrum, which shares methodologies like Agile and Lean an emphasis on iteration and adaptation. At the root of Scrum, for co-creator Jeff Sutherland (2019: 9), is this simple idea: ‘Whenever you start a project. why not regularly check in, see if what you’re doing is heading in the right direction, and if it’s actually what people want?’

Conclusion

I know from my time in the music and media industries that ideas don’t emerge fully formed from single individuals. They emerge collaboratively over time. What appeals to me about innovation coaching, as about Scrum, is that it embraces the messiness of the creative process. It provides a measure of structure to the process but without being too linear. You are not helping people to move from A to B to C but helping them loop around back to A again. To me, that’s what enterprise educators should be doing too. It doesn’t hurt, perhaps, that I work at a specialist art and design institution like University of the Arts London. But I think there’s something in innovation coaching for enterprise educators everywhere.

Marcus O’Dair is Professor (designate) of Innovation and the Creative Economy and Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange at University of the Arts London (UAL).

Intersectionality & Neurodiversity

Written by Jennie Baptiste, University of Westminster

We will discuss neurodiversity and intersectionality within enterprise and the education and business landscape.

Exploring how we can create safe spaces so that dialogue is a constant transition of change.

This article will explore the complexities of Neurodiversity & Intersectionality from voices of Neurodiverse founders within business and with some feedback from those within higher education in supporting roles for students within academia and support services at the University of Westminster.

How role models within the neurodivergent entrepreneurial community can help to shift the perspective of what a business founders should look and behave like. Giving the opportunity for neurodivergent entrepreneurship students see and more importantly get to engage with those like them and gain an understanding of the intersectionality that exits within this framework.

Neurodiversity is a term that encompasses neurological and diversity and includes those who identify or diagnosed as autistic, ADHD, dyslexic and dyspraxia.

Intersectionality describes the way structures of inequality are characterised based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, class and how they interconnect to build undercurrents and effects that contribute to other forms of discrimination.

Interview with Harry Spear; CoFounder for Caribbean Elective 

This a full circle moment for us Harry, as we met at the EEUK Conference a couple of years ago and here we are today for the EEUK blog interview, to reflect and gain an insight into your world.

Harry Spear is Neurodivergent and a Co-Founder of Caribbean Elective. Harry will talk to us about being an entrepreneur and his insights on intersectionality and neurodiversity.

Harry, would you be gracious enough to tell us a little bit about your background and how you started?

“My journey starts at school, which is a, a place that I found difficult at times.

 I stood out and from the very beginning compared to many of my colleagues at school, i.e. struggled academically from day one and in comparison, to other students at school.”

“I just could not seem to keep up and that was mostly in part to my dyslexia, I think.

Instead, I would start to focus on the things that I had noticed that I could do.”

I could think more creatively, I could problem solve, and I realized as well that I had this ability to connect people with people. This has defined my entire life and career since, and the ability to connect people to a cause and support me in that cause. I had a natural ability to empathize.

So, Harry focused instead on building friendships and connections with people.

Harry then got the wonderful opportunity to go and play cricket in the Caribbean.

“It is the one thing I had always been good at, at school and was something that I adored.

Despite the adversity that some young people in the Caribbean encounter, they get up with the most extraordinary determination to live every second of their life to the fullest playing sport.”

He says, “I adopted that approach to life from them, it gave me real confidence.

It gave me a different view on the world and a bit of a mission as well.”

When Harry came back and to the UK, he wanted to create an organization and that would do two things.

It would give young people like him from disadvantaged backgrounds or neurologically diverse or disabilities, whatever challenges these young people face an opportunity to have the same life changing experience that he had.

Secondly, he wanted to use those young people’s amazing skills, passion, determination to make real and lasting change in the developing communities across the Caribbean.

So, in love with that, Caribbean Elective was born with £120.00 Grant from the Prince’s Trust.

Caribbean Elective today run some of the best programs in the world and across several subjects doing amazing things, over various Caribbean countries.

QUESTION

How did you manage to turn your life around?

“The first thing is realizing that you. are the only person, who can define what you can achieve,” exclaims Harry.

It was spending time with local young people in the Caribbean who just lived and loved life, which showed me that I do not have to listen to that and that I am a different person.

So do not let anybody tell you of what you are capable.

I then had this for the first time in my life, fearless mission to come back and create this organization.

I had no idea how to start a business, but I did not care.

I went to the Prince’s Trust, and I got the mentor, and I met this most incredible lady who became my mentor. I still speak to incredibly regularly nine years later.

QUESTION

What challenges would you say that you have had to come across as a neurodivergent entrepreneur?

I could not have despised the fact that I struggled more, but once I got over that and realized that there are so many incredible things that this helps me do, that others just cannot do. I realized that I could connect with people better.

Sometimes I must write 10,000 words to try even get as little message down because I just cannot conjugate it, in my brain properly. I must have a, a working atmosphere and environment that suits me.
There must be absolute silence and I need to be able to concentrate, I really struggle when people are watching me work as well.

So yes, there has been challenges, but in a modern world, there is lots of technology that can support you. That has helped me with the literacy side of things and allows me to just appreciate, that the bonuses that come with having a neurodiverse background.

QUESTION

At the University of Westminster, we have an entrepreneurship program, which are extra curriculum activities that students can sign up too via WeNetwork. If you were a student now and you saw an advert for entrepreneurship, learning extra curriculum activity, what would attract you as a neurodivergent?

I think something that would immediately grab my attention, is something that has an emotive course. Neurodivergent people are attracted by different things.

For example, in job adverts I think many companies are desperate to diversify their workforce, but then they continue to write their job adverts in a very linear way to appeal to those applicants.

If companies put a little bit of emotion in there and illustrate what they are, this is where they will attract diverse people because that is what, will engage neurodivergent people.

So, first, I am looking for that and secondly, I am looking for something where there is a problem to solve where the solution might not be immediately obvious, where there might be creative thinking required.

I particularly enjoy working in groups and that is an environment where I think many neurodivergent people feel at home where they can really express themselves and bring some value to a team environment.

So yes, I something that is not static and still, something that has a reason from A to B and a cause behind it.

Interview with David Rana; Cofounder of Metro Coffee

Metro Coffee is based in Gants Hill, London the Cofounder David Rana is going to give us a brief overview of how Metro Coffee started back in 2017. When Metro Coffee first opened, there was no social purpose within the business, gradually over time Metro Coffee decided to support job applicants who were solely neurodivergent. The conversation picks up with David telling us how the change within the business came about through a new member of staff, David himself is neurodivergent.

“A whole new world opened for us, with Metro Coffee when we hired a new member of staff when she disclosed that she was neurodivergent,” says David.

David shares, “I stammer when I am really nervous or when I’m really anxious, or when I am really stressed, so I could see in her face that she was really struggling to even come and approach me about it.”

QUESTION

How does Metro Coffee support employees with neurodivergent traits and accommodate communication preferences?

We support their needs on a one-to-one basis, this helps me to understand them more.

Giving them one to one training, helps them to make feel comfortable with that person and it really helps them to flourish, we have found they are able to come out more and speak more.

QUESTION

How do you address workplace sensory overload for, any of the employees?

Sensory overload can be quite overwhelming, so what we do at the start of the training, we do not overload staff with too many tasks.

We focus them with one aspect of training first, for example, we put them on the front on the till. Rather than making them focus on too many things, the barista or other food production packing sites.

Once they get an understanding of the customer service operations, we then let them focus on other things like training them at the barista and how to make coffees or drinks. We slowly try to expose them to other tasks like prepping food if it is of interest for them.

QUESTION

Lastly are they any success stories you would like to share of your staff?

A member of staff was in an office position, and you know, a whole new energy came out of her, she was talking a lot more. Really taking on initiatives, she has Roussy- Levy syndrome, which effects mobility and the muscles.

“So yes, that for me is a success, as she is progressing very well, ready to move up within the business. My staff have really helped me as well, personally to find my purpose and the business purpose as well. “ 

Liam Hart; WERE Coordinator – Work Experience & Placements – University of Westminster   

Liam Hart supports neurodiverse students who are going to do industry placements at the University of Westminster. Liam works with Employ Autism a business partner of the University of Westminster to help secure graduate roles, including C.v writing and introducing them to the world of work and gives neurodiverse students advice in terms of how to find opportunities.

Statistics show that many people with autism struggle to get their first role after leaving higher education. Liam has taken on the same training that employers do, so that the support aligns neurodivergent students in terms of communication, content, and language including the use of digital accessibility. Liam’s role is to educate the employers and prepare them for taking on a student with autism for an internship.

They have sessions that they attend, and it prepares them for all stages of the internship, including the interview stage.

Liam advises employers on making reasonable adjustments during the internship and making them aware of the traits and the kind of things to be mindful of. Sharing what the characteristics might look like and the wide range of those characteristics and how they can, show up in the workplace, so that they are understanding of that. 

Irene Brew – Riverson; Senior Lecturer Organisations Economy & Society – Course Leader BA (Hons) Business Management Entrepreneurship at University of Westminster

Question

I am keen to explore the correlation of marginalised communities within the neurodiversity and entrepreneurship and how higher education, can support that within the wider educational framework, to create a more inclusive and diverse approach to widen participation. How does business management and entrepreneurship support this and facilitate neurodivergent business student founders on their journey at the University of Westminster?

“Neurodiversity, entrepreneurship, and business management, I guess when I think about the topic area in its entirety. I think about two things, who we are and then I think about what we do,” says Irene.

Irene goes on to say, “What I mean by that, is really the values we bring to the way we conduct ourselves in the classroom and how we run our courses and what our thought processes are and what our mindsets are with regards to what it is we’re teaching and trying to explore.”

These are the actions that we take, and it is important to start from who we are and what we believe, because that really drives our behaviours.

“So, for me, in my area of work of business management and entrepreneurship, what I think is important is doing our best to challenge the assumption, that everyone learns in a linear way and step by step logical manner,” says Irene.

We really must look at how we can meet those learning outcomes in a way that embraces flexibility, which allows our students who are neurodivergent to still do well.

Having cognizance in the learning environment to meet the unique needs of our students, who are neurodivergent and to think about things like elements of interactivity that will help students who are not able to sit through. For example, an hour’s lecture without moving, without doing anything, and for us to assume that you know this is the way to learn.

So, I think that the minute we can challenge those assumptions, we can take steps towards making changes that do not drop standards. Some people say things like, well, if we do not give a lecture, I mean if we do not have activities in this way, if we do not have students listening, they are not going to learn.

But that is where we have not really explored the possibilities, I think students can learn very effectively even if we totally do away with the lecture and have an interactive discussion with materials that they can go back to and refer too.

“To give an example, students were talking about a module evaluation, and they said to me that one module was their favourite module because of the interactivity, and this is where some students were neurodivergent, and others were not,” says Irene.

What the students were saying was very often when they go into a lecture, it might feel as if the lecturer is just reading the slides and for them nothing is happening.

We need to challenge the stigma that exists around neurodiversity and intersectionality move forward and help students who are neurodivergent learn more effectively.

How important is it that neurodivergent students get the opportunity to engage with business founders who are neurodivergent so that they see role models thriving in their business and have access to this awareness?

I think for them to see people who have still made progress really helps.
It is just a deal breaker for many students.

That they see a person like them can do this, that there is the possibility that they can also, what is really, important in all of this is recognizing the niche that they have.

How well they are going to do and how they will be different and that is okay.

So, to explore that fact and understand that there is space for all of us in this world, some of us will do it in a mainstream way. Others will do it in a unique way which is something to celebrate.

That is the sort of thing, I really want us to put to one side so that we have the full expression of neurodiversity in the unique ideas and businesses and services that can be produced, and we promote them as well.

Thank you so much and the sharing your thoughts with us today and as this interview ends, is there anything in terms of knowledge or development or training that you would like to share.

I think the approach of trying to have a group of personal duties or a group of students working with particular academics where there’s a relationship is a really good strategy, because then a student doesn’t feel as if they’re a number, they feel emboldened to talk to you about the challenges they face. Until we have conversations with our students, we do not really understand where they are coming from.

We get to know them, and we take the time to get to know them, we have a chance to profoundly influence them. I have found that in my practice within about six weeks of starting with a group of students often, of course, if alchemy establishes a relationship with them, they have the confidence to talk to me about things that they may not otherwise want to open up about. This gives us an opportunity to give advice and to help them.

So, I really want us, and many academics to do this to build relationships with our students and let them know that they are valued individuals who form the learning community that we have.

But we do not want to take away from the fact that they are unique, important enough to be listened too and important enough to be worked with.

So, they do not have to fit into a mould, so we can work together, you know, to really advance their progress. 

Conclusion

Identities are formulated by a sense of belonging; for example, seeing similar people from the same social, racial, gender, backgrounds, role models that you can identify with due to common traits.

A nuanced approach is essential to reflect on intersectionality and neurodiversity. The social constructs that are a contributing factor, this cannot be explored without defining the significant impact this has on an individuals in terms of discrimination when understanding intersectionality & neurodiversity.

Stories can be shared to get an understanding of experiences and representation, but for that to happen it needs to be a safe space where individuals are free to express themselves without the fear of judgement. With an audience willing to listen and understand from their perspective.

Some individuals may not wish to disclose their neurodiversity. There is still an opposition in some places for those who think differently to the systematic structures and policy’s that have been cultivated to define a practice as fitting into the norm or a culture of a perceived group, all of which are a social construct that can be broken down to be more inclusive in practice.

This brings about change and an inclusive approach to inclusion that will benefit society.

Those who are privileged in the position to advocate change have the power to do so through research, learning, storytelling, implementing processes, strategies, and deliverables so that we move towards a more inclusive authentic approach.

One where neurodiversity and intersectionality is heard thorough celebratory realms, an evolving conversation of continuum. As one is not without the other.

Jennie Baptiste, is a recent appointed Director of EEUK, based at University of Westminster within WeNetwork. Views expressed are my own and not of my university.

It’s springtime, let us shine: Marching on the mission for Inclusive Education

Written by Dr Vicky Mountford-Brown


In my first Director blog for EEUK, I wanted to focus on something that has been increasingly important to me, which is actively celebrated this month in the UK, that of inclusivity (particularly in education) and celebrating difference and diversity.  There’s a palpable momentum gaining around understanding the role and potential of (neuro)diversity in our education and workspaces in recent times, and this presents us with many opportunities. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to ruminate on the special significance of this for us as enterprise educators, and offer you all a cornucopia of ways you can learn more and get involved. The call to action, I believe, for all of us, is to innovate and create respectful and inclusive working and learning environments.

March represents a month of many celebrations of difference and diversity with International Women’s Day having already taken place this month on 8th March and a whole week of ‘Neurodiversity Celebration’ (18th – 24th March – see https://www.neurodiversityweek.com/ for a whole programme of free, accessible events throughout the week).  On a more local level for yours truly, the image you see here is from a north-east England based social enterprise, called Celebrate Difference, who actively support individuals and organisations to understand and support neurodiversity, and on 15th March launched their QbTesting facility, offering ADHD Screening assessments to 18-60 year olds. Having this as an option to consider for residents of the northeast, will be life changing for some, many of whom are stuck on a ’waiting list’ for assessment that can vary from months to several years (ADHD UK, 2023) and this alone, presents many pertinent issues for us all in the enterprise education community.

We know that adult diagnoses of neurodivergent conditions are on the rise – particularly autism spectrum condition (ASC) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and also, that individuals often become aware of their neurodivergence through education. This means that many of the learners we are already working with are on an individual journey towards understanding and navigating their neurodivergence; some are beginning to make their own links, some are awaiting diagnosis. Put simply, in working primarily with adult learners in higher education, neurodivergence and inclusive education affects all of us – add the interesting significance of neurodivergence and entrepreneurship, and the situation for us as enterprise educators becomes even more compelling.

Many of you may have encountered the Charter for Inclusive Entrepreneurship which establishes core principles for supporting inclusivity across the entrepreneurship ecosystem and emphasises the role of lifelong learning in entrepreneurship education. Some of you may have even been lucky enough (as I was) to be at IEEC 2023 and attend Rob Edwards (check out: Neurodiversity & Entrepreneurship Association) and Dr Lorna Treanor’s ‘Best in Track’ session. This session not only stirred lively and engaged discussion (that could have easily gone on for hours!) around the important topic of Neurodiversity and Enterprise Education, but also (particularly welcome for me) put the emphasis on ‘how do we best allow our neurodivergent students to shine?’ To enable our students to shine requires greater understanding and innovation in our education (and work) spaces and work is underway to develop best practice guidelines to share across the sector – watch this space!

There’s an equally welcome and growing emphasis in the research emerging around neurodivergence and entrepreneurship (currently dominated by research from USA) that emphasises the ways in which neurodivergent entrepreneurs can indeed shine.  For example, Lanivich, Moore and McIntyre’s (2024) newly-published article positions the cognitive abilities of neurodivergent entrepreneurs as offering exponential potential for entrepreneurial alertness, adaptability and entrepreneurial intent, and therefore represents another study situating a strengths-based model of understanding neurodivergence, in the context of entrepreneurialism. Positive associations with entrepreneurial traits and behaviours and the entrepreneurial mindset (see Wiklund et al, 2018 and Moore et al, 2021) highlight that neurodivergent individuals often possess enhanced capacities and capabilities in the practice of entrepreneuring.  Part of enabling our neurodivergent students to shine may be through learning that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial career pathways can offer neurodivergent individuals the means to thrive and create value. This strengths-based view of neurodivergence in entrepreneurial contexts is a compelling proposition for us as enterprise educators.

And yet the ‘us’ I refer to as our collective of enterprise educators is striking in the huge variety of roles, levels of responsibility and different drivers – and funding – that shape the numerous and complex myriad of expectations tied into our working lives.  This means that the ways we encounter neurodivergence in our everyday working experiences are equally complex. We may work primarily with students in various extra-/co- and in curriculum capacities, however some of us also work with staff (including researchers), that we manage, coach and support.  Some of us work in very academic, research-focussed roles, with others more focussed on practice and managing people.  Beyond the functions of our roles, we tend to be a thoroughly diverse bunch further still – we come from all walks of life, many coming from industry and entrepreneurship as ‘accidental academics’ (Wilkinson, 2020), typically with a huge variety of past study experiences and subject specialisms.

I strongly support the increasing interest in neurodivergence and learning and for creating inclusive learning environments, but it strikes me that there’s an important part of this conundrum that is at risk of being overlooked – us.  With this ‘us’, I refer to those of us in the network who identify as neurodivergent (or ‘neurospicy’ as a brilliant enterprise educator friend would say) ourselves.  There’s been a surge in interest in how we can create inclusive learning environments and all too often, our roles as educators exclude us from being recognised as learners too. I think there’s some risk here and I want to address that.  To do this, I’m asking for any ‘neurospicy’ enterprise educators who would like to meet and discuss their experiences and practices and explore the potential for developing a working/research group around the topic, to get in touch.  Particularly if you identify as neurodivergent, please hit this link, leave your details and I will be in touch!

One of the things I love about EEUK is the network. Having engaged in several sessions over the past few months including our Fast-Track Programme and more recently, earlier this month (5th March), I attended an EEUK (EERPF-funded) event focussing on Developing a Toolkit for the Sustainability Mindset, where I met numerous talented and inspiring individuals (some of whom identify as neurodivergent too) who really want to make a difference.  Some of our conversations showed that by learning from our diverse collective, we can future proof our resources and practices to make our educational interventions truly inclusive. Getting out to events across the network (be they online or in-person) is a healthy step towards finding/assembling your tribe – our collective is such a rich and diverse source of learning.   As British springtime begins to emerge, signalled by the month of March, it’s our time to shine and collectivise to create inclusive and meaningful enterprise education.

Next month, expect more on this theme from my fellow Director, Jennie Baptiste, who will be commenting upon Neurodiversity & Intersectionality.

Dr Vicky Mountford-Brown
Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship
Director of Enterprise Educators UK

References

ADHD UK (2023) ‘NHS Waiting List Report October 2023’ https://adhduk.co.uk/nhs-adhd-assessments-waiting-lists-report/

Lanivich, S.E., Moore, C. and McIntyre, N. (2024), “The effects of neurodiversity on cognitive attributes of entrepreneurs”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research,

Moore, C., McIntyre, N., & Lanivich, S. (2021). ADHD-Related Neurodiversity and the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 45 (1), 64-91.

Wilkinson, C. (2020) Imposter syndrome and the accidental academic: an autoethnographic account, International Journal for Academic Development, 25:4, 363-374, DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2020.1762087

Wiklund, J., Hatak, I., Patzelt, H. and Shepherd, D.A. (2018), “Mental disorders in the entrepreneurship context: when being different can be an advantage”, Academy of Management Perspectives, 32: 2, 182-206, doi: 10.5465/amp.2017.0063.

Pundit Predictions: How Artificial Intelligence can change Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education in 2024.

Written by Dr Cherisse Hoyte

Happy New Year! At the start of each New Year, we may make resolutions or goals that we would like to focus on. Some of these are more a wish list of do-good habits than a conscientious effort for change and improvement. To kick off the New Year, I thought we could start off on the right foot and reflect on how entrepreneurship education might change and improve for 2024.

What is trending at the moment is artificial intelligence and how this can be embedded into teaching, learning and assessment in an appropriate and ethical manner. Our students were already enquiring last semester as to whether they are allowed to use AI-generated images in their infographic coursework assessment for our first year entrepreneurial thinking module. We foresee much more inquiries and even bold attempts to push the boundaries in using generative AI tools like ChatGPT. In truth, while there has been a great deal of hype about ChatGPT, this is just one example of one type of AI tool. Besides large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, there are translation tools and AI detection software.

In terms of teaching, learning and assessment, AI tools that transform content, paraphrase content or correct grammar/spelling such as Grammarly, Quilbot and Google Translate, have been used by students for quite some time now especially among international students. For 2024, might we consider how these tools might change and improve enterprise and entrepreneurship education? For example, we know that the word “entrepreneurship” is a very western concept and many of our international students find it challenging to relate to this concept and see themselves as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs. AI translation software can be encouraged in this instance to help students with their reading, writing and comprehension. We may even find that there is a more holistic and systemic concept that is palatable to a wider group of students. ChatGPT suggests “entrepreneurialism” as it “might be used to denote a broader cultural or societal ethos that is supportive of entrepreneurial endeavours, implying a quality or an ideology that embodies the spirit, attitude, or ethos of being entrepreneurial

As educators, we are all too familiar with the AI detection tools such as, Turnitin. Some other examples are Copyleaks and GPTZero. You will also be aware that none of these tools presently provide the depth of accuracy or reliability we need to confirm academic misconduct by our students. So for 2024, might we consider how we can make our assessments more authentic? We are after all enterprise educators, and our students should not be writing 2000-word business plans. At my university, we have significantly reduced written essays and reports from our enterprise and entrepreneurship curricula and replaced these with digital storyboards, 6-minute group pitching, vlogs and consultancy projects. I challenge you to do the same.

Ultimately, we circle back to LLMs like ChatGPT and similar generative AI content creation tools, including Midjourney, Bard, Minerva, and Perplexity.ai, to mention a few. It is within our gift as enterprise educators to lead the way in how these tools can be used. I firmly believe that we should seek to understand more about these tools and incorporate them into our teaching, learning and assessments rather than present these tools as an enigma or forbidden fruit. For instance, tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney are proving to be quite useful for our digital storyboarding assessments as students can generate images using their own prompts to empathise with consumer/market needs. It provides a sense of inclusivity for those who are not good at drawing or sourcing images and the assignment becomes more about the story-telling, insights into the consumer and market research rather than artistic drawing.

Integrating AI in enterprise education will come with its risks, but the opportunities for personalised learning, real-world relevance and enhanced collaboration that can foster innovation and critical thinking is one that we cannot afford to miss out on. The future is AI.

Views expressed are my own and not that of my university.

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) https://chat.openai.com/chat

EEUK President’s New Year Thoughts

Written by Dave Bolton

Dear Members and Friends of EEUK

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, I extend my best wishes to each one of you and your organisations. May the coming year bring us all success, growth, and prosperity for our institutions and for EEUK.

As your President, I am privileged to lead a community of dedicated individuals, and I look forward to navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the future holds. Let us make sure we continue to work together, fostering innovation, collaboration, and excellence.

One element that always inspires me is the focus on perspective that the New Year brings. I’m sure 2024 will bring us renewed energy and determination to achieve our collective goals. Here’s to a year of accomplishments, milestones, and shared success. (And of course, the first IEEC outside of mainland UK, Belfast here we come!!)

I do, however, find myself pondering what the coming year might bring in terms of growth for enterprise education as a discipline across all levels of learning. These are obviously my opinions, however, broader trends observed in recent years have pointed towards a number of innovative strides in the discipline.

  1. Digital Transformation in Education: The integration of technology into education is likely to continue, with a focus on digital platforms, online courses, and interactive learning tools. Enterprise educators may adopt innovative technologies to enhance the learning experience for students.
  2. Adaptation to Remote and Hybrid Learning: The experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a more permanent adoption of remote and hybrid learning models. Enterprise educators may continue to explore ways to effectively deliver content in both traditional and virtual formats.
  3. Focus on Practical Skills: There might be an increased emphasis on practical skills and real-world applications in enterprise education. Employability and preparing students for the workforce may become central themes, with a focus on experiential learning, internships, and industry collaborations.
  4. Global Perspectives: With the increasing interconnectedness of the global economy, enterprise educators may place a stronger emphasis on providing students with a global perspective. This could involve international collaborations, cross-cultural learning experiences, and a focus on global business trends.
  5. Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The importance of fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and cultivating innovation skills may continue to grow. Enterprise education programs may incorporate more elements related to startup incubation, design thinking, and creativity.
  6. Soft Skills Development: In addition to technical skills, there may be an increased recognition of the importance of soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Enterprise educators may design programs that holistically develop students for success in a professional environment.
  7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: There might be a heightened focus on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in enterprise education. Efforts to create inclusive learning environments that reflect the diversity of the business world may become more pronounced.
  8. Lifelong Learning: The concept of lifelong learning is likely to gain more prominence. Enterprise educators may explore ways to offer continuous learning opportunities for professionals throughout their careers.
  9. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in enterprise education is becoming increasingly prevalent. While AI offers numerous benefits to enterprise education, it’s essential to address ethical considerations, data privacy, and ensure that human oversight remains integral to the educational process. Additionally, ongoing research and development will likely bring about new and innovative applications of AI in the field of enterprise education.

I am excited to see what the next 12 months brings for us and once again I am proud to lead the organisation, YOUR organisation for another year. I wish you and your families a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous  New Year!

David Bolton

Associate Professor Swansea School of Management

President – Enterprise Educators UK

EEUK President’s Address 2023

Written by Dave Bolton

A photo of Dave Bolton. He is wearing a suit and smiling at the camera.For all our EEUK members, collaborators and friends.

As we come towards the end of yet another year, I extend warm and heartfelt greetings to each and every member and friend of EEUK. This festive season is a time for reflection, gratitude, and celebration, and I am really pleased to have the opportunity of writing this short message.

This year has been filled with challenges, triumphs, and moments that have tested our resilience as individuals and as a collective community. Yet, through it all, the strength of the EEUK ‘family’ has remained, proving that together, we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

The festive season provides us with a big opportunity to express our appreciation for the ties that bind us—ties forged through shared goals, common values, and the collective dedication to the mission of EEUK. It is a time to acknowledge the hard work, passion, and commitment that our Board of Directors, Operations team and most importantly what each and every member brings to our organisation, contributing to its success and growth.

As we celebrate this special time of the year, let us also remember those who may be facing challenges or difficulties. EEUK stands as an advocate of support and compassion, and it is through our actions that we can make a meaningful impact in the work of others. This festive season, I encourage each member to consider how we can extend a helping hand to those in need and foster a spirit of generosity within our community in the spirit of entrepreneurship and collegiality.

Looking ahead to the coming year, personally, I am really excited about the opportunities that lie before us. IEEC Belfast in September 2024 will be the first time we have taken the conference outside of mainland UK and will open up the support EEUK can provide to a wider audience. We are also looking forward to forging links in other parts of the world in conjunction with our partner organisations. Together, as part of a wider community, I am positive we will continue to strive for excellence, innovation, and positive change. The collaborative efforts of our diverse membership will undoubtedly propel EEUK to new heights, creating a lasting legacy for the years ahead.

In closing, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President. It is an honour that I hold with great humility and pride. On behalf of all the EEUK Board and wider team I want to express my wishes for a happy and peaceful Christmas period, and I also hope that the New Year brings prosperity, fulfillment, and continued success to each and every member of our EEUK.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Warm regards,

David Bolton

President Enterprise Educators UK

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Making sense of enterprise education?

Written by Steve Aicheler

Hidden on page 24 of the Entrecomp framework is a learning outcome which says “I can combine my understanding of different contexts to transfer knowledge, ideas and solutions across different areas.” It’s part of the Creativity competence, level 6 of being curious and open. So with that in mind I’d like to tell you a story of how I hope we, as Enterprise Educators can demonstrate this competence.

Like all good stories I need a cast of characters, so let me introduce Martin Lackéus – well known to many of you and our keynote speaker at IEEC. My second character is Nick Gibb who was until recently Education Minister in the UK government. Finally, David Snowden, a keen mountain walker, although that fact is probably not relevant.

At IEEC Martin challenged us as Enterprise Educators to take the Red Pill, to peel the scales from our eyes and to peer, curiously, under the hood of our practice to understand both what we are trying to achieve, and what is or isn’t working. As in the 1999 film The Matrix, reality may not be a pleasant experience – but is it better to live in reality or to continue to fool ourselves that we have reached the sunlit uplands of ‘perfect’ Enterprise Education?

Now let me take you to two other interests of mine, life after all does exist outside of EE (no, really it does!) To de-stress I try to run on a regular basis, although on this particular occasion I decided to engage with another interest – that of politics. If, like most, you despair at the shallow, soundbite politics of the moment then the “Political Thinking” podcast on BBC sounds does offer a more nuanced, non-aggressive deep dive into understanding the motivation and approaches of politicians. On this particular run I chose to listen to an interview with Nick Gibb an education minister who I feel would not immediately fall in love with the approaches often used in EE practice.

The conversation, led by Nick Robinson took the listener through why Nick Gibb feels that his approach to education is valid. On one of his keynote policies, that of synthetic phonics Nick tells us of his evidence led approach – both in the introduction of phonics, in its roll out and in his ongoing resistance to those who feel other approaches may be more effective. One argument used is that phonics reduces the number of sounds to be memorised from 1000’s to only 40+. This feels like a logical argument to me, a reduction in the need to memorise 1000’s of basic words, coupled with an evidence base that the approach is effective.

This contrasts to another of Nick Gibb’s key policies, the ‘knowledge curriculum’. From the evidence of this podcast alone, this policy seems much more based on personal experience, anecdote and the unevidenced opinion of ‘experts’. Counter to the phonics approach, this requires the memorisation of many facts.

Listening to this interview I couldn’t help but to make a connection to Martin’s presentation and his call to build the evidence that Enterprise Education is developing real value and is not merely a construct that is giving us the illusion of satisfaction – are the approaches we are taking in EE evidence led like phonics, or based on gut feel and personal experience like the ‘knowledge curriculum’, and how can we tell the difference?

This is where I need to introduce my final character, because in reality, Enterprise Education is more complex and more chaotic than teaching young children how to read*. The Cynefin Framework, from the Welsh, Cynefin – a sence of place,  developed by the mountain walking David Snowden is a decision making framework designed to help leaders to make better decisions. It does this through a process of sense-making. Perhaps too often in EE we find ourselves in a state of disorder, leading to difficulty in developing effective solutions, or believing that the answers must be simple, we attempt to categorise what we are doing as obvious and search for ‘best practice’. While this may work for teaching children to read using phonics, in EE this is leading to what Martin has referred to as the McDonaldisation of EE, a set of practices which don’t respond to where we, or our learners are.

Different elements of EE may fit in one of the three remaining Cynefin domains, situations which are chaotic, complex or complicated. How we support an individual student to progress with an idea may often be chaotic, the development of Entrepreneurial Competencies within a program constrained by PSRB requirements is complicated – but can be guided by ‘good practice’ whereas the development of accelerator programs or extracurricular work would be complex, governed by rules of thumb, but allowing for emergent or adaptive practice.

So before we are able to provide the evidence that Martin has challenged us to produce we must first understand the domain in which the different elements of our work may sit and therefore the type of practice which may best help us to achieve the outcomes we desire and a true understanding of what is actually working.

We need to look to other fields, such as decision making and combine this understanding within our context. We must also understand the factors which lead to those decision makers like Nick Gibb who are able to influence policy to choose to follow the evidence or to choose to follow their instinct. We must remain curious and we must encourage and find time for proper conversations with colleagues from other fields to enable us to truly respond to Martin’s challenge.

*Other than limited experience in reading with my own children I cannot claim to have first hand knowledge of teaching children to read, so it may well actually be complicated and chaotic.

I’d like to thank Mark Neild for reviving my interest in Cynefin, a concept I came across a number of years ago – I knew it was relevant but hadn’t quite connected the dots.

Education for the post Covid generation

Written by Dave Bolton

I’m approaching these thoughts on education from my experiences of teaching enterprise skills competences and entrepreneurship. How do we integrate these elements into education to make it more relevant to today’s world? To make education more relevant, in general,to the post-COVID generation, we need to consider these approaches:

1. Digital Integration: Embrace technology for hybrid learning, incorporating online resources, virtual classrooms, and interactive educational apps.

2. Flexibility: Offer flexible learning models that accommodate different learning paces and styles, including remote and in-person options.

3. Real-World Application: Focus on practical skills and real-world problem-solving to prepare students for the challenges they’ll face in a changing world.

4. Mental Health Support: Prioritize mental health and well-being, providing resources and counseling to help students cope with the pandemic’s emotional impact.

5. Interdisciplinary Learning: Encourage interdisciplinary studies, fostering creativity and adaptability.

6. Global Perspective: Promote global awareness, teaching students to be culturally competent and prepared for a globalized job market.

7. Resilience and Adaptability: Teach resilience and adaptability as essential life skills to navigate uncertain times.

8. Personalised Learning: Tailor education to individual needs and interests, allowing students to explore their passions.

9. Collaborative Skills: Emphasize teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills, as collaboration becomes crucial in a post-COVID world.

10. Health Education: Include comprehensive health education, focusing on public health and hygiene practices.

11. Remote Work Skills: Teach remote work skills, including time management, online collaboration, and digital communication.

12. Environmental Awareness: Highlight sustainability and environmental issues to prepare students for a world increasingly focused on environmental concerns.

13. Continuous Learning: Instill a lifelong learning mindset, encouraging students to adapt to new technologies and industries.

14. Assessment Innovation: Rethink assessment methods to measure skills and knowledge effectively.

15. Teacher Training: Equip educators with the tools and training to deliver relevant, engaging content in various formats.

Adapting education to the needs of the post-COVID generation will help them thrive in an ever-changing world.