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A Curriculum & Culture of Innovation in Education

Objective of universities in developed countries it extending the frontiers of knowledge, But in developing countries it’s turning existing knowledge into skills and practice - Dr Tunde Adegbola

Never before in history has innovation been more critical for nations and organizations than right now. - much more than in Africa and Nigeria! Looking back the history and culture, innovation and the culture of innovation has never been included in education from primary through secondary and university level.

It’s become imperative that we do something about this in every aspect of our lives and culture beginning with education and the education curriculum of our country and continent. This must cover formal and informal education in its scope because the price we have been praying is way too hard for too many people

In the book “Made in Africa: Learning to Compete in Industry” authors, John M. Page, Mans Soderbom, Carol Newman, Abebe Shimeles, Finn Tarp and John Rand ask some pertinent questions. One important question they ask is:

“Whatʼs the real problem preventing companies from growing in Africa? Is it lack of access to finance? Power? Good roads? The authors find the answer to be something more simple — lack of people who can grow businesses. Thatʼs it. Africa simply lacks enough of the people with the skills to grow a business into something that delivers productivity gains.

This has implications for education spending. Research shows that the skills required to grow a business are developed/learned right after primary education. That is, if you want to raise people who build businesses, you need to make a deliberate effort in the way they are educated once they leave primary school. That means, if they don't learn it in primary school, the damage can still be repaired.”

If this is true of entrepreneurship then you can imagine how far we are behind with innovation and event developed economies are struggling with this concept for the need for “Innovation Being Addressed in Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Programs?” By Robert I. Berry, Anil Kumar and James P. Scott1

The study explores innovation from both startup and corporate perspectives to see if industry needs are being met by academia. Findings suggest that entrepreneurship programs focus on functional knowledge and an opportunity exists to include courses that address innovation, design, intellectual property, and social media

Entrepreneurial education should be an enabling education that focuses on innovation, which we define as the creation of new capacities for wealth creation.

Drucker defined innovation as “the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced”

We define innovation as the process of creating a product or service solution that delivers significant new customer value. Just being a new or incremental improvement by itself is not innovation unless the idea is capable of creating value or capacity for wealth creation.

Entrepreneurship is the exploitation of the innovation activities. Innovation creates the potential to fuel economic growth in a nation. New products, services, or redesigned processes that result from innovation create new markets or enhance existing markets leading to economic growth.

Sustaining economic growth in a nation can be challenging unless the potential to innovate is harnessed. Innovation can take place either in a startup organization or an existing organization that is well established in the marketplace.

Organizational innovation is difficult to measure as money spent by organizations on research and development may not necessarily lead to innovative solutions. Booz & Company’s findings in their annual report, The Global Innovation 1000 Study indicates, “What really matters is how those R&D funds are invested in capabilities, talent, process and tools.”

If innovation is to continue, it is important that academic institutions are prepared for this challenge. Therefore, entrepreneurship programs need to provide the students with the basic business skills and an understanding of innovation in order to build the capacity for the exploitation of new business opportunities.

Therefore, entrepreneurship programs need to provide the students with the basic business skills and an understanding of innovation in order to build the capacity for the exploitation of new business opportunities. To address innovation needs there has been an interest in offering undergraduate entrepreneurship programs by higher education institutions.

To be continued .......

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