Entrepreneurial thinking in education: A slight twist on problem-solving | Michelle Blanchet & Devin Vodicka | 5 Min Read

August 3, 2023

When we say ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ what do you think of?

For most people, it’s having the skills to open up a business. However, entrepreneurial thinking is actually about creative problem-solving. It’s having the ability to turn lemons into lemonade, to turn problems into possibilities. It’s a skill that can easily be developed and should be developed because it encourages people to harness the knowledge, wisdom, resources, and skills they have at their disposal and do something about the challenges they face. 

In a world full of problems, it seems to make sense to equip people to be problem solvers. Entrepreneurial thinking is directly linked to problem-solving and in turn—making the world better. Throughout the duration of our lives, we will each become close to a wide array of problems. The closer you are to a problem, the closer you are to a solution. Imagine if we equipped students to not only identify the problems that they will stumble upon but to develop the opportunity that each problem holds. Students would find their purpose as adults, society would improve, and jobs would be created.

Unfortunately, it seems we often neglect entrepreneurial thinking because we feel we have to tell people what to solve. Frequently the problems we see are the only ones we recognize. However, instead of spending so much time telling people what the problems are (and how to fix them), we might be better off equipping others with entrepreneurial thinking. In giving people the tools needed to innovate—and getting out of the way—we can do so much more to support problem-solving and to empower others to do something about the challenges they will ultimately face—ones that we might never know existed. 

The first step in developing entrepreneurial thinking is helping students to recognize problems as actionable opportunities. How do we get students to identify problems so they understand when to act?

Provide Inspiration:

It is common for us to see videos on LinkedIn by the World Economic Forum that feature some new invention, initiative, or policy that is reshaping the world. And every day we are delighted by the ingenuity of others. Some of the areas of exploration are novel and yet there are people out there already working on the solutions. For instance, did you know people are working with whiskey distilleries to turn unwanted chemicals into biofuels? Did you know that there was a…

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Michelle Blanchet

Michelle is an educational consultant that infuses startup strategies into professional learning so that teachers are empowered to bring changemaking, social innovation, and SDGs into their work. After teaching social studies in both the U.S. and Switzerland, she founded the Educators’ Lab, which supports teacher-driven solutions to educational challenges. Michelle is the co-author of The Startup Teacher Playbook, and Preventing Polarization (2023). She has worked with organizations like Center for Curriculum Redesign, PBS Education, and Ashoka, and occasionally blogs for Edutopia. A graduate of IE University in Madrid, she is a part of the Global Shaper Community of the World Economic Forum and has presented at numerous events, including SXSWedu and TEDxLausanne. Her focus - helping teachers and students use their agency for social good.