The best way to learn? By doing.
I’ve taught at Saskatchewan Polytech for the past four years. I’ve taught Marketing, Digital Marketing, and my favourite class to teach, Entrepreneurship. It’s my favourite because we actually start a company and the students experience Entrepreneurship first hand. They can’t just read a book a bunch of times, remember it better than everyone else and ace a test, no no, this class is much more difficult than that.
From the book the Mastery, throughout the history of civilization the best way to learn anything in this world is by doing it. Apprenticeship is the long forgotten method of learning how to do almost anything in our world. But instead of making student apprentice in a subject, we make them learn all the theory of the subject. The problem happens when you engage the theory in the real world and a different result happens. What do you do when what you’ve been told will work 100% of the time fails? What an amazing learning outcome.
Failure is a part of life and when you do something like launch a company you experience a lot of failure. These end up being the best learning moments in
the classroom life.
Our ancestors decades ago didn’t have the luxury of libraries, schools and teachers, they learned anything by doing it.
Enter Entrepreneurship 2.0.
In my Entrepreneurship class we start a company. We don’t Uplifting T-shirts, Free Hugs T-shirts, and this year we did MisMatched Mittens.
Born out of an idea from Junior Achievement(JA) in our city. JA in the high school curriculum has students creating a company as a team and actually taking a product to market. What a novel idea, experiencing entrepreneurship instead of learning about it.
So Uplifting T-shirts was the first project. Supporting a local organization who came and presented to our class on “Social Enterprise”. Tyler Gray from Carmichael Outreach talked about the importance of business creation and job creation to get our community out of the cycle of poverty.
The idea of Uplifting T-shirts revolved around donating all proceeds to Carmichael. 60 T-shirts were printed with the slogan across the chest which read
“Kindness is Contagious
Pass it on”
We sold them for $28 a piece. 60 t-shirts were sold in Seven days and the students raised $1,000 for Carmichael Outreach. Pretty cool outcome for a class of only Five students.
Next was a similar idea for a “Free Hugs” campaign. This was done by our Digital Marketing class and it was a Summer semester so we never did get to finish selling the t-shirts. I may or many not even have one lying around if you’re interested!
We got come press about this one!
Finally MisMatched Mittens was the 2016 Entrepreneurship project. This time profits going to the Redcross Anti Bullying campaign. “These mitts are different and they don’t care, do you?” read the tag the students hired Articulate Ink here in Regina to create. They sold 89 pairs of Mitts at $15 a pair. After expenses the class ended up donating $870 to the Anti Bullying campaign. How awesome!
I believe the learning outcomes are much more concrete when you experience Entrepreneurship.
No one’s going to ever look at you and say “Yup, your superpower is ______”. After a while it may become apparent, but in the mean time try new things, experiences, really track what you love and don’t love about those experiences. If you keep trying new things you’re going to eventually stumble upon your superpower. It’ll be a magical moment in time where you’ll finally understand your calling, your purpose, the reason you were put on earth.
No it won’t be flying, invisibility or metallic claws coming out of your hands, no it’ll be something inside you, something unique that’s sets you apart from everyone else. If you still think it’s impossible, I will still beg to differ. Nothing is actually impossible and yes everyone does have a super power.
Nothing’s Actually Impossible
Remember when you were a kid, you’d tie a bed sheet around your neck and Leap from chair to chair because you were a super hero? Nothing was impossible. If you wanted to ride a bike, build a fort, fly to the moon, WHATEVER, no one could tell you it was impossible. You’d just fail and fail and fail until you got it right.
Some how between being a superhero child and “growing up” someone takes away our cape. They tell us to do what we’re told, don’t follow your dreams, after all, superhero’s are made up, right?
Everyone has a superpower, everyone has something they are amazing at. If you don’t know what yours is, just try a different cape!
We’re all meant to do something super, nothing is actually impossible, we just like to believe what the critics say. Critics don’t change the world, superhero’s do.
Go tie that bed sheet around your neck, find your superpower.
Yup, we did it! The first week of August this past Summer we ran “Big Idea Camp 2015” a one day, Amazing race meets Harvard business competition. We had 6 students who formed two teams and competed in 5 different challenges throughout the day. It was nothing short of amazing.
Here’s the Twitter play by play on the day… Remember to follow @BigIdeaCamp on Twitter!
RFP=Request For Proposal. When a public institution needs to contract a company to do a job they aren’t capable of themselves, they send out a Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP outlines what needs to be done, what tools should be used and some contain a whole lot more. A RFP is basically the project outline for any company that wants to bid on the project. Just like the recycling service in Regina, the City put out an RFP and Emterra won it.
When it comes to RFP’s the cheapest company usually wins. In business, simply going with the cheapest solution is rarely a good idea for your business.
Case in point: City of Regina hasn’t been recycling glass food containers
Turns out the “recycling” company (Emterra) the city hired doesn’t recycle glass. Doesn’t recycle glass?!? What do you mean? Isn’t that a major portion of what we recycle?
When the city put the RFP out about recycling pickup, Emterra responded (conveniently leaving the glass part out) and quoted a cheaper price to do the job.
The city went with the cheaper option, without reading the fine print.
RFP’s suck. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s undercutting everyone else to get a job, that’s not right nor is it sustainable. Even if you do win the RFP, you have no budget room whatsoever, you have a slim chance at making this project successful, you’re forced to cut corners to make it work. Sadly it is the public entities that use RFP’s that pay the price.
That’s exactly what Emterra did, they didn’t exactly come out and say they weren’t going to recycle glass but with how little they’re getting paid per bin pickup there’s a reason they can’t process glass. And from the cities response you KNOW they didn’t catch it, if anything it sounds like it was directly the city’s fault.
Lets stop using RFP’s they aren’t helping anyone.
** I am making an assumption here that Emterra mischievously left the glass recycling out to create the cost savings. I recognize that they may have found it in hindsight and been an honest mistake. But if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a chicken!!!