Monday, 21 August 2017

Natalie Lamb and The Role of Entrepreneurialism in a PhD: Enterprising Summer School Day 1

I am currently completing a two day online course, Enterprising Summer School, which is being ran by The University of Sheffield Enterprise, to develop my skills and my understanding of what enterprise is. Before this course, I thought I was not an entrepreneur because I have no interest in building a business. But I recognised that successful entrepreneurs have many skills that would be of value during a PhD. So I decided to take this course in an attempt to build on those skills. On the first page of the course, I very quickly learnt that being an entrepreneur is a lot more than having your own business! 

So what actually is enterprise? The course defines enterprise as “having ideas and doing something about them”. I completed a quiz to determine how enterprising I am. I was identified as being an enterprising individual but further understanding and knowledge would be required before I am able to become an entrepreneur. I think this analysis is correct. As a PhD student, it is important to be able to generate ideas and see them through to fruition, although they are in a less traditional sense (e.g. setting up a successful lab experiment, rather than a successful business).

The first day consisted of: what is enterprise, so how enterprising am I, what is an entrepreneur, entrepreneurialism with an organisation, social entrepreneurs, why is enterprise so important and enterprise at Sheffield University. There were also two tasks, to produce a creative piece that answers the question “What do you think enterprise is?” and to produce a 500 word reflective statement or blog. I think the tasks completed during day one, in particular, really helped improve several of my skills: creativity, reflection and adaptability to different ways of expressing myself. Producing a creative piece about entrepreneurship was an especially useful part of the course, as it demonstrates your creative and ability to think outside the box.

One thing I learnt during day one is about entrepreneurialism within an organisation- I had never heard of the term intrapreneur before. Intraprenurship.com defined an intrapreneur as being “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk taking and innovation”. To me, this definition seems a little direct and assertive. It is difficult for me to apply this definition to myself. I much prefer part of Gifford Pinchott’s definition, “Do any job needed to make your project work regardless of your job description”. My own definition would combine the two. An intrapreneur is someone who shows entrepreneurialism within an organisation by taking responsibility of an objective, using their initiative and going above and beyond their job description to complete it.

This course seems very relevant to my PhD and I am looking forwards to continuing with it. The thing I most want to get out of this course, currently, is some ideas about small changes I can complete every day to help build on these entrepreneurial skills. I hope day two will build on this.

This is what I think enterprise is. 



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