Purpose of this Website – Education for Creating a Resilient Society Through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Higher education has similar problems to other institutions in society. Universities and colleges need to clarify their missions, do a better job of attracting students, and produce more effective outcomes. What’s needed is affordable, purposeful, and effective education that will train a new generation of innovative, cooperative, and humane leaders. The goal is to create the leadership capacity for a resilient and hopefully sustainable society. This is what institutes of higher education should be focusing on, both to preserve themselves (fill seats, maintain enrollments) and to preserve society.
This website focuses on topics, leaders, and cases regarding the fundamentals of social innovation and entrepreneurship; social enterprises, appropriate technology, and transformational leadership. (see social innovators page below) It also looks at existing educational models dealing with aspects of social innovation, including both liberal arts and business school programs. We also posit the need for new models for affordable meaningful education in social innovation and entrepreneurship designed to create a new generation of effective leaders.
One proposed model is for new independent institutions containing some or all of the following attributes:
1. Created and owned by faculty as a LLC, cooperative, or benefit corporation or alternatively as a fully autonomous unit of another educational entity
2. Primarily operating over the Internet but renting on campus facilities for one or two months a year
3. Form an Invisible College to place outstanding students with leading mentors.
4. Alumni have chance to buy shares
5. Governed through a consenting format such as Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance. Chancellorship rotates among faculty.
6. Critical alliances with leading social change organizations that also act as employers for cooperative education opportunities.
7. Integral viewpoint to allow strategic alliances with organizations having more traditional worldviews.
A second proposed model is the creation of “social innovation” centers at existing colleges and universities which will be based on “educational learning communities.”
These learning communities will start as residential, scholarly, and social on-campus centers. They will continue into off-campus field studies and vocational placements with cutting edge organizations fomenting and managing positive, regenerative, social change. They will result in a lower cost educational experience with less time on campus and more time doing meaningful work in the community. The student will have more choice of majors and course work since there will be on-campus agreements allowing students the freedom to “go between the academic silos.” The programs will be managed through a process of “dynamic governance” (related to holacracy and sociocracy; see Dynamic Governance page, left)
The academic component of the model starts with a base of liberal arts studies particularly focusing on ethics and philosophy. In further years the student has a wide choice of multi-disciplinary coursework depending on their specific interests. For example, a student interested in international development might take courses in agriculture, engineering, community organizing, media, political science, and etc. Leadership and entrepreneurship will be particular focuses through the curriculum and various new interfaces will be explored such as “strategic entrepreneurship” and “entrepreneurial leadership.”
In addition, students will be tested during their participation in these programs for various types of “emotional intelligence”, particularly “cooperative intelligence” and “innovative intelligence.” Our thesis is that education that cultivates emotional intelligence leads to “deep understanding” or wisdom.
The goals of this model are threefold:
1) To attract new students to programs combining the liberal arts with more career centered education;
2) To develop a more affordable and meaningful education model for both the student and the institution of higher education;
3) To train a class of innovative and entrepreneurial change agents that will renew and strengthen the institutions of our evolving society.