The ability to innovate and find new ways of doing things will define the success of individuals, communities, and countries into the 21st Century. Competition for the earth’s resources, increased globalisation and the explosion of technology are all drivers behind this trend. The traditional ways of thinking about earning a living and the world of work into the future will no longer rely on developing compliant workers capable of taking their place in the assembly line. Instead, workers at all levels will require new sets of skills and dispositions. Entrepreneurship is one of the future focused themes identified in the NZ Curriculum, recognising the increasing importance of developing the disposition that supports individuals and groups to take action for themselves.
This is a foundational concept in developing a ‘knowledge economy’, requiring more innovative approaches to future focused careers planning. Economies around the world are premised on growth (population, productivity, goods and services etc.), and recent international studies demonstrate a strong link between poor growth and inequity.
We need more entrepreneurs and innovators in our society in order to ensure that we can maintain a healthy level of growth, even when traditional markets may no longer be successful.
This begins at the school level with providing plenty of opportunities to learn about and practice the skills of being entrepreneurial — including risk taking and having permission to fail, two key attributes that we see being eroded as schools are forced to comply with externally imposed restrictions on time and mitigation of risk.