Academic journal article Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Business Paradigms in Einstellung: Harnessing Creative Mindsets, a Creative Industries Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Business Paradigms in Einstellung: Harnessing Creative Mindsets, a Creative Industries Perspective

Article excerpt


This paper offers the reader some insight into the methodological considerations and pedagogical approaches that are emerging in the communities of practice that are broadly termed "Creative Industries," focusing on a case study that was undertaken at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education. Described as "innovative entrepreneurship education and development," this was one of five programmes selected for "in depth" observation by the UK's Higher Education Academy--Art, Design and Media Subject Centre (HEA-ADM) and National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). The approach was identified as a distinct model for delivering enterprise to the creative industries sector (HEA-ADM/NESTA, 2007: 22). Moreover, it is an early response to their call for "clear frameworks... for art, design and media based on evidence for effective practice that will offer guidance to curriculum developers and their collaborators." (HEA-ADM/NESTA, 2007: 114) The research and associated case study have also been recognised to have the potential for broader dissemination and discussion, receiving extremely favourable responses from international conferences.

The term "Einstellung," in the title of the paper, refers to the einstellung effect. It is a condition where the "individual has discovered a strategy that initially functions well in solving certain tasks, but later blocks the realization of new and simpler solutions to similar problems" (Kaufmann, 1988: 55)--a natural phenomenon that preserves cognitive economy and is often referred to as simply "not thinking outside the box."

The authors argue that there are many similarities between emerging entrepreneurship education pedagogies and those that are already well established in the disciplines of design education--predominantly in the domain of art and design. It is considered important, therefore, to discuss the cultural and educational differences that this sector has experienced, and the manner by which the lessons learned might benefit other communities of practice. The Cox Review of Creativity in Business: Building on the UK's strengths (2005) and the UK Department of Trade and Industry (2005) suggest similar strategies, yet Blackwell and Harvey's (1999) comments regarding the "paucity of research" in this area suggest that much is still to be done, an observation borne out by the authors' observations and experiences. For example, discussion commonly focuses on the creative aspects of entrepreneurship, yet there is little evidence of the manner in which creative mindsets can and have been harnessed. It is this dearth of research that the paper makes some small attempt to redress.

A core objective of entrepreneurship education that differentiates it from typical business education is "to generate more quickly a greater variety of different ideas for how to exploit a business opportunity, and the ability to project a more extensive sequence of actions for entering business" (Vesper and McMullen, 1988: 9). Rae (1997, 199) observes that "the skills traditionally taught in business schools are essential but not sufficient to make a successful entrepreneur."

Recognising that the successful entrepreneur has personal skills, attributes and behaviours that extend beyond the purely commercial (Gibb, 1998 and Kirby, 2003a), the challenge to higher education institutions is to develop students with entrepreneurial capabilities that meet the entrepreneurial challenges of the 21st century knowledge economy. Professor David Kirby, Chair of the Internationalizing Entrepreneurship Education and Training conference 2005, raises the question, "Entrepreneurship education--can business schools meet the challenge?" (Kirby, 2003b).

Accepting a general agreement that entrepreneurship can be taught, or at least encouraged, there is little uniformity in programme offerings (Gorman, Hanlon and King, 1997). Measurement of the impact that entrepreneurial education has on its students' behaviours, skills and attitudes requires a uniform method of evaluation which facilitates comparisons between students, faculty, pedagogical method, course content, and other variables (Block and Stumpf, 1992 and Solomon, Duffy and Tarabishy 2002). …

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