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Patrick Henry Community College's Effectual Journey

Posted By Kimberly Buck, Friday, January 30, 2015

Kimberly Buck
Community Development Coordinator
Patrick Henry Community College
kbuck@patrickhenry.edu 

 

Our small city in southern Virginia was built on entrepreneurship – and we believe it’s the key to revitalizing our area. Together with NACCE, a grant from the Coleman Foundation, and our crazy quilt, Patrick Henry Community College is introducing effectual thinking to our students, staff, and the public.

Once upon a time, at the turn of the previous century, a group of enterprising young businessmen turned a small tobacco town into a hub of furniture and textile production. Martinsville was the Sweatshirt Capital of the World for some time, and it all began with a handful of entrepreneurs starting small businesses that turned into international corporations. Now that much of our former industry has moved overseas, our economy is shifting and making a comeback. Our focus with our Coleman grant is on training people to be their own bosses, to start businesses that can’t be outsourced, to add to our local quality of life and employ our neighbors. We also want to show our stakeholders how effectual thinking can be applied to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions.

PHCC has a great entrepreneurship and small business management program on the credit side of the house that is taught by a successful local businessman. We have worked with NACCE for more than a year to introduce effectual principles to our faculty, staff, and local business leaders. However, we needed to take our efforts to the next level and bring these valuable lessons campus and community-wide.

Last spring, we piloted two entrepreneurial programs, hosting the area’s first Martinsville Mini Maker Faire and a Jump Start! Student Entrepreneurship weekend. Though we had a very short turnaround time to market these events and drum up registrations, there was a great response from the community. The Mini Maker Faire, a free and family-friendly festival of innovation, drew more than 200 members of the public. The Jump Start weekend was marketed to local high school and college students and offered a “crash course” on effectuation and the nuts and bolts of starting a business. More than 20 students signed up and spent their Friday evening and all day Saturday in the workshops, and two new businesses resulted from our program. This showed us that there is a need and a hunger for entrepreneurial education in our community.

We applied to the Coleman Foundation to continue and expand these efforts to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as providing professional development to our staff. After learning from the NACCE conference how other community colleges are implementing effectuation, we’ve made some strategic pivots and revised our plan. We’ve had to make lemonade when our original plan of a campus-wide rollout in January was not possible, and when a planned speaker proved too expensive for our budget.

First, we decided to take it a bit slower for deeper implementation. We plan to bring a speaker here to “train the trainers” on our campus this semester and then roll out the campus-wide initiative at the beginning of the fall semester. One of our Birds in Hand is the campus SCALE team, which stands for the Southern Center for Active Learning Excellence. The team is comprised of six certified instructors on the PHCC faculty from a variety of disciplines who have successfully delivered trainings to more than 120 other colleges. They will be empowered this spring to disseminate the effectuation message well beyond the end of the grant period.

Also, our Jump Start weekend has changed form. We’re working with members of our Crazy Quilt to bring the Extreme Entrepreneurship tour to Martinsville. (If you were fortunate enough to meet Sheena Lindahl at the NACCE conference, this is her company.) Students who participate in our entrepreneurship event will be eligible to compete in a pitch competition for prizes to get their business idea off the ground.

Partnership gives us a chance to combine our financial and human resources with another workforce organization and the local high schools to make this exciting tour happen. That doesn’t mean this is an easy process – the more partners in our quilt, the longer it takes to make decisions and schedule events. But, together, we will touch a larger audience and will be able to make something happen that formerly was out of reach.

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  economic development  effectuation  innovation  NACCE  Patrick Henry Community College 

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Inside the Entrepreneurial Method by Sara Whiffen

Posted By Christine Pigsley, Monday, December 8, 2014

Begin Where You Are

By: Sara Whiffen, Insights Ignited

This is the first of a series of monthly blog articles from the work that is being done on engaging effectuation (the entrepreneurial method) in the 10 Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurial Colleges in Action Grantees from around the country. We wanted to share this information with the larger community of practice so you too can start engaging in conversations in your department, your college, and your community.

  1. When getting started, don’t look outward for “inspiration” or “vision”; look inward. 
    • Are you starting with a specific problem to solve?  If so, you want to develop outcomes that are solutions.  This provides some constraints that might help you prioritize next steps and possibilities. 
    • Are you starting with an idea to create additional value?  In this case, you might have more flexibility in terms of how you move forward.
  2. Be honest with yourself about your organizational culture.  Take a few moments to identify potential barriers / challenges.  Does effectual thinking fit intuitively with your existing organizational culture?  Or will it be a challenge for people to think in this way?  Is it a challenge for you, personally, to think in this way? 
  3. Understand what is non-negotiable.  This is especially important in institutional settings.  Understanding your boundaries will allow you more freedom to pivot when the opportunities arise. 
  4. Do you have a traditional planning process that you must / want to follow?  If so, before getting started, look for opportunities to either insert effectual thinking or operate in parallel.  This can be an effective way to get others internally on board with this approach. 
  5. Start Asking!  Get yourself and your teams to begin making asks, even on a small scale.  Practice is essential to building the competence and confidence that will be needed for true co-creation. 
  6. Track your successes and failures.  Decide now how you will record your experiences with this process – both the positives and negatives.  Since this method relies on interactions, consider capturing conversations. 

Effectuation is not an all or nothing approach.  Just as every business idea does not warrant an extensive business plan, not every entrepreneurial action needs to be effectual.  Expert entrepreneurs are proficient with using both causal and effectual thinking. They understand when and how to apply both mindsets with fluency.

I encourage you to comment on this blog to share your experiences implementing effectuation in your organization and any challenges you are facing.   

 

Tags:  Coleman Foundation  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  innovation  NACCE  strategic planning 

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The Beginning of Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines at Middlesex Community College

Posted By Luciano Sappia, Sunday, November 30, 2014

Heading to NACCE 2014 Middlesex Community College (MCC) had a mission to kick start the “Expanding the MCC Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” project with the help of the NACCE community and the Coleman Foundation through the ECIA grant. This project is aimed at three of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge action steps:

  1. Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
  2.  Increase Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Community Colleges
  3.  Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of your College’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship.

The core of our project has 3 main deliverables:

  •  Establishing a Cross-Disciplinary Internal Team of Faculty Dedicated to Broadening Student Understanding of and Engagement in Entrepreneurship Opportunities
  • Expanding the Entrepreneur-in Residence Program to a Network of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence
  • Sponsoring major entrepreneurship events each semester. (More information on the specifics of the project will be revealed in future posts as they get co-created!)

Upon our return, we began sowing the seeds for self-selection and co-creation. We did this by announcing in every encounter and official meeting the news of our success in Arizona during the conference. Our glee was meeting with equal amount of support from our fellow college community members as well as the external partners that began to get wind of our project moving forward.

One of the first things we did was to announce it during a Faculty and Staff Association meeting. A number of faculty and staff members contacted me after the meeting to offer their support and willingness to collaborate I have to admit I was not expecting so many members of the staff to be interested. I can’t wait to hear more about their ideas of how they can help shape this project from their corners of the institution.

That was the beginning of reaching out to our “Birds-in-hand”. We followed up with meetings with the Asst. Deans of every academic subdivision to identify and invite their faculty to raise their hands to become one of our entrepreneurship champions. We also engaged in conversation with our Professional Development office to begin creating a workshop series to develop the “entrepreneurship champions” understanding of the entrepreneurial method.

Taking these first steps in, not only announcing the project, but inviting the community to get involved in any capacity that feels comfortable to them and allowing for co-creation has proven very effective. You can almost feel the project changing from an Entrepreneurship Program initiative to a college wide collaborative initiative.

Lessons learned:

  • Everyone you meet is a good audience to share what your project is. You never know where you are going to get that connection, flash of inspiration, innovative thought that will steer the project in a better direction.
  • We don’t know what others are willing to do or give, so don’t limit your possibilities with questions that predefine the outcome.

Key takeaways:

  • Our colleges have many initiatives all the time that tend to live in silos. Break the silo, let go of the ownership of the project, let it be the college’s project.
  • Stay true to the “why” you are engaging your college in the project and let the “what” you do to get it accomplish be shaped by those who take an interest in fulfilling that “why”.

Tags:  community college  effectuation  entrepreneurship  innovation  Middlesex Community College  NACCE 

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