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A number of years ago, I was teaching an all-boys Year 9 English class when I was interrupted by a student who said, “I don’t mean to be rude, miss, but… Why are we doing this?”

Despite my best efforts to fumble for a better response, all I could say in the moment was, “Because, we have to.”

But, did we? Did we have to?

We train children to leave themselves at the school gate and then we wonder why they don’t show up in our classrooms.

If we want more than compliance in the classroom, we need to connect learning to life outside the school gates.

This is why the first two steps in our Entrepreneur’s Odyssey invite young people to look inwards; unpacking the lived experiences, passions, interests, values, and skills that collide to create the unique perspective that young people have to bring to our classrooms- and the world.

The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey

In our last e-news, we looked at the Odyssey as a whole.

The product of five years of delivering entrepreneurial education in hundreds of schools to thousands of students nationally and internationally, our Future Anything ‘Entrepreneur’s Odyssey‘ is a purpose-built and education-specific design thinking framework that supports students to empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test their entrepreneurial ideas in a language they (and their teachers) can understand.

In our experience, the best design methodologies in the world mean nothing if young people cannot bring themselves to the process- which is why the first two steps of the Odyssey are grounded in self.

Step 1: How did we get here? [Empathise]

In this first step, students complete a series of activities designed to help them understand and appreciate how their past has informed their present; creating personalized areas of expertise and authenticity.

We believe that the best entrepreneurs often draw from their own life experiences in order to create enterprise solutions that solve problems they can relate to authentically.

Step 2: What matters to us? [Empathise]

Students complete a series of activities designed to understand who they are; their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what matters to them, and the world around them.

We believe that the best entrepreneurs know themselves, often drawing from their values and passions in order to solve problems that matter to them.

However, before we ask students to look inwards, we need to model why this personal proximity to the design thinking process is so powerful.

To do this, we step students through a process of unpacking the connections between entrepreneur and enterprise using our Catalyst Map template.

In the example video below, we’ve used the incredible story of William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

But, you could use the personal stories of any number of changemakers.

Some of our favourites include Lauren Shuttleworth from Words with Heart and Nic Marchesi from Orange Sky Australia. We love their stories so much that we took the time to sit down with these incredible humans and chat with them about their enterprise’s ‘origin story’- the moments in their lives that had collided to create the impactful organizations they’ve founded.  You can find Lauren’s case study on our YouTube Channel here, and Nic’s Orange Sky story here.

When we model how others have stepped deeper into their personal stories and experiences in order to transform a part of the world that they found unacceptable, we give permission for young people to lean into what makes their perspective on the world different- we show them that their unique vantage point is the source of their authenticity. And, we empower young people with the knowledge that their authentic self is their superpower.

Want to know more about how to build the entrepreneurial mindset of young people in your classrooms? Be sure to subscribe to Future Anything’s regular e-newsletter to have resources delivered right to your inbox. You can sign up here.

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