Entrepreneurship – a new civic skill?
HUBS hosted a miniseminar on April 2021 to explore the future of work and the changing landscape of entrepreneurship. This article sums up the inspirational insights shared by our keynote speakers, Ilkka Halava and Matti Apunen.
Become an agent of change
The world of work is undergoing a major transformation. Ilkka Halava’s Tetris and Minecraft analogy perfectly illustrates how work has changed over the years. In Tetris, blocks of different shapes appear randomly on screen, and players need to continually react by rotating and stacking them to fill and clear the lines.
Minecraft, a more recent favorite, invites players turn a digital desert into their own world independently or as a team. Ideally, working is like playing a game and seeking that fully absorbing experience known as the flow state: you know the goals you need to achieve and are familiar with the game and its environment.
Creating one’s own career
In this type of self-directed environment, the factors of production become increasingly democratised and accessible through platforms and intelligent tools. Machines free us from day-to-day drudgery, so we can focus on creative pursuits. More and more people have the option to create their own career rather than take the more traditional route of becoming employees.
Halava encourages us all to become agents of this change so we are not left standing on the sidelines, wondering what just happened!
Creativity is not reserved for artists
We were particularly excited to hear Halava’s ideas about the presence of an artistic dimension in all lines of work. It is not a privilege that is exclusively reserved for creative professions but an element that can be integrated into any career to increase a sense of meaning at work.
In his presentation, Matti Apunen stated that while robotisation and other technological advancements will eliminate only a few occupations entirely, it will affect portions of all jobs. Even routine tasks can be performed with a creative flourish – and this is precisely where machines cannot replace humans. Apunen cited an example where pear-shaped workers repair a sunken road as if by magic, showing that creativity and problem-solving skills are also needed in jobs that may not be generally thought of as creative.
We believe that finding and embracing the joy of creativity is important to all our students regardless of their field of study, as it helps to make work meaningful and adds spice to life. How can we help our students embrace their creativity and unleash their inner artist?
Many aspire but few have the courage
Matti Apunen brought up some startling statistics about entrepreneurial attitudes among Finnish people. Different surveys and research results demonstrate that most of us are fans of entrepreneurship, at least in theory. But in practice, most entrepreneurs in Finland run a small business that stays small. According to Apunen, this may be due to an innate timidity as Finns are some of the most risk-averse people in Europe.
While small business owners are considered sympathetic, being rich is frowned upon. Pursuing entrepreneurship and foregoing the steady pay that comes with being an employee may be seen as too risky. What we need is not only structural change but also a change of attitude: being an entrepreneur is a regular job done by regular people, it is not only about rags-to-riches tales or people working themselves to the ground.
Business ID for everyone
Hybrid entrepreneurs, or individuals who mix self-employment with working as paid employees, are helping to bust the myth of entrepreneurs who are constantly on the edge of burnout. Work is not either/or, it is increasingly both/and! Maybe all students could be assigned a Business ID when they enrol at university, so they can start experimenting with hybrid entrepreneurship before graduation?
Entrepreneurship – not an anomaly but a normal career path
Universities have a duty to educate their students about employment opportunities and career paths and offer them the opportunity to develop the skills required in the changing employment landscape. Entrepreneurship is not an anomaly but a normal career path. It can also be an attractive choice as secondary employment, enabling individuals to follow their passion.
Some of us may need to expand our horizons and identify our strengths to be able to see entrepreneurship as a viable career option, whereas for others entrepreneurship is a natural choice and the only way to go to realise their career dreams.
We all need entrepreneurial skills
Whether we are self-employed or employees, we will all need entrepreneurial skills in the future, and the world of work will look very different by 2040. HUBS’s elective courses in sustainable entrepreneurship are aligned with the European EntreComp framework, and we are working to enable all students at Tampere Universities to develop the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that they are guaranteed to need, regardless of their field of study and their future career.
Are you an agent of change?
We invite all the members of the Tampere Universities community to join the change! Let’s work together to ensure our students have the knowledge and skills to pursue entrepreneurship and forge their own path in the changing world of work.
Three concrete steps:
- Encourage students to attend courses exploring sustainable entrepreneurship.
- Integrate the development of entrepreneurial skills into regular courses.
- For example, the course Introduction to Entrepreneurship suits absolutely everyone.
- Build knowledge and a shared understanding of entrepreneurship and the future world of work.
Let’s continue the dialogue about entrepreneurship and the development of students’ skills –together!
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