Tag Archives: purpose

Education MVP 2.0 . . . or is it 3.0?

A New Direction (For Education and For Me)

As with any good startup, the time has come again to pivot.

Photo Credit: carnagenyc via Compfight cc

I have been throwing up random ramblings. Sometimes about education. Sometimes about entrepreneurship. Sometimes not really about either of those. I didn’t have a direction. Then I spoke with Ellen Leanse. She used exciting words like “brain hacks” and “nanospark”.

After explaining my perspective on education, and my efforts to be more deliberate in including women in entrepreneurship education, she said “you should be the voice of inclusion in entrepreneurship and education”. I hesitated at that opportunity – it got real deep real quick! Ellen then shared these words with me, from Lao Tzu:

Watch your thoughts, for they become your words.

Watch your words, for they become your actions.

Watch your actions, for they become your habits.

Watch your habits, for they become your character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Photo Credit: spacepleb via Compfight cc

 A New Beginning (For Education and For Me)

I’m going to focus my ramblings through this platform. I know, I’m sure I’ve said that before. But Ellen kicked me in the ass and now I really mean it! I will write about and invite others to write about:

  • Successes and failures at entrepreneurial approaches to education
  • Principles and theories and such surrounding how to construct a meaningful education system that is inclusive above all else
  • How to engage students (methodological perspective)
  • Tactics in the classroom (assuming the goal of guiding young adults toward a career)

All of this I undertake with a basic assumption: Our higher education system was originally created out of the need to create efficient cogs in a big machine. It thus focused on forecasting and planning and similar activities.

Today is not a world of big machines that need cogs. It is not a world of forecasting and planning – at least not in the way it was hundreds of years ago. Our education system has not adapted. I want to expose how it hasn’t and how it has.

What are your thoughts: how should our education system adapt to prepare students for today’s career marketplace?

And the Purpose is . . .?

My purpose here at Illinois State University is to spread entrepreneurship across campus. I’ve struggled to engage young women students and women business leaders in the community in the classes and programs. The more I talked to colleagues and looked into research regarding entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation, the more glaring became the gender gap. This always bothered me, but around the holidays, I decided to do something about it.

Purpose is Central

Since the holidays, I’ve been a networking tornado – blasting through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other outlets possible to connect with women who have experience with entrepreneurship and innovation and wouldn’t be shy about sharing their honest feedback. It has been extremely easy to get hundreds of women to spend 20 or 30 minutes chatting with me. My secret? I let them know I want to empower young women through education, and that since I’m a dude I am clueless about how to do that effectively, so I need their guidance. That vulnerability and humility and transparently sharing my purpose seals the deal. These women have all sorts of perspectives, from different industries, roles, generations, geographies, and any number of other differentiating factors. A few things are common to most of the feedback I have received.

The one thing every single woman has urged me to do is to focus on purpose

They urge me to get young women to think about their purpose (generally and specifically to any number of slices of life’s pie)

They urge me to encourage young women to own that purpose, and to share that purpose with anyone and everyone.

They urge me to facilitate young women connecting with others around their purpose.

Purpose has been on my mind lately, and I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that presents me.

The Purpose of Education

Education needs a purpose. Administrators could be so much more effective if they focused on purpose first and outcomes second (and less on quantitative results and more on qualitative results). We as educators need to re-examine our purpose.

Why are we in this career? Research? Teaching? Service? A paycheck? Seriously think about it. I’m here to impact young people and help them uncover and get started down their desired career path.

Students could improve their experience if they explored their purpose for continuing their education. They choose to be in college, they choose which college. They make daily choices to engage with their educational experience. To what purpose? Owning that purpose would create much more impactful moments. I’ll bet that would leak into the educators’ experience and the administrators’ experience, and would begin to infect these stakeholders’ purpose.

What About You?

What’s your purpose? Think about it. I mean really think about it. Think beyond specific roles in your life (as a parent, spouse, employee, boss, leader, whatever). Think holistically. Why are you here? What, really, is your existence about? Think beyond the “what do you want you epitaph to be” sort of exercises. Dig deep. Get uncomfortable with yourself; be vulnerable. Own your purpose, whatever it is. Then live it. The world will be better for it. Your world will be brighter for it. The impact will be awesome!

I’d love to hear what your purpose is, and to help you accomplish your purpose. Share by commenting here, or by emailing me at dwinkel@ilstu.edu.