Readers know that I'm an adherent of Luke Johnson's column, "The Entrepreneur," in the Financial Times. Johnson has served admirably as chairman of the Royal Society of Arts (many of us are familiar with the RSAnimate videos on the internet).
This morning, as I was working my through a large pile of FTs from the past six weeks or so (not enough time to read them during the waning weeks of school, so they piled up on my desk!), I came across an article of Johnson's that I had quoted before on this blog; now, however, it makes sense to provide some of the highlights from the article in an effort to get us thinking about what entrepreneurship means and whether we truly value it within independent schools. Please read through the following selection of quotations, and, where the words "university" or "college" are used, substitute "independent schools," and you'll see why I feel compelled to share these words on Introit.
"Leave the ivory tower for a life of entreprise" (Financial Times, Wednesday, May 23, 2012)
- "A formal education for so many professions means an ordered sequence of steps. I accept that this is entirely necessary for many walks of life. But for entrepreneurship there is no syllabus, no degree. It is a journey in self-education."
- "The reason academics understand entrepreneurs so poorly is that they lead lives so removed from those of most professors. There is an amost complete disconnect between the intellectual class and business founders."
- "We don't know enough about the psychology and character of wealth creators, which makes it harder to frame policy so as to foster more of them."
- "Entrepreneurial instincts can be cultivated even in scholarly surroundings--the two should not be mutually exclusive."
- "But my sense is that too many of our higher educational establishments often fail to spot entrepreneurial talent. And if they do notice them, they have almost nothing to offer. Perhaps colleges are simply unsuited to guide such independent, unconventional minds."
- "Education and healthcare will be transformed in the coming years. Traditional classrooms and hospitals are not productive enough, and private sector technology and input can help this process. We need more entrepreneurs in medicine and learning."
- "All universities should be persuading entrepreneur alumni to mentor undergraduates. They should seek angel investors among their donors to back student ideas. Tutors should be encouraged to create spinout companies. And why not found incubators to nurture early-stage businesses?"
- "Educationalists should be alive to the possibilities."