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Creativity and ICT to drive new entrepreneurship education


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The aim of this paper is to present the conceptual framework that has driven the establishment of the educational model developed under the CREA European Project. CREA Educational Model and Didactic Framework represent a best practice in teaching the first stage of entrepreneurship in intensive Summerschools in 6 cities in Europe, using Creativity and ICT as leverage of innovation. The methodology adopted to frame the didactic and teaching method has been based on four different strategies: - Literature review based on framing entrepreneurship education; - In-depth research with a collection of surveys from a European panel of students; - A collection and evaluation of 50 best practice cases; - a piloting with a first edition of a European network of summer academies developed under the CREA project. Keywords: service, innovation, entrepreneurship, digital, transformation, education, training, learning, change, change management, management, business, organizational development, leadership, value
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Cumulus Hong Kong 2016
Cumulus Working Papers
21 – 24 November 2016
Hong Kong
Design Institute
Copyright © 2017 Hong Kong Design Institute and
Cumulus International Association of Universities and
Colleges of Art, Design and Media
All content remains the property of
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Cecile Kung, Elita Lam and Yanki Lee/
Hong Kong Design Institute
Hong Kong Design Institute
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Tseung Kwan O
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Hong Kong
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ISSN 1795 1879 Cumulus working papers (pdf)
ISSN 1456 307X Cumulus working papers (print)
Conference Credits
Cumulus Hong Kong 2016
Organising Committee
Leslie Lu, Principal/Hong Kong Design Institute
Daniel Chan, Michael Chan, Shaun Cheung, Shirley Cheung,
Eureka Chiu, Sannia Ho, Kaman Hui, Phoebe Hui, Cecile Kung,
Rani Janday, Cherry Lam, Elita Lam, Carling Lau, Luna Lau,
Frieda Lee, Yanki Lee, Beam Leung, Tony Liu, Stephen Lok,
Tasuki Mak, Cassandra Ng, Tse Ming Chong, Terence Wong,
Evance Yau/Hong Kong Design Institute
Conference Chairs
Patricia Moore/Moore & Associates
Yanki Lee/Hong Kong Design Institute
Elita Lam/Hong Kong Design Institute
Cees de Bont, Professor/The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Open Design Academic Track Chairs
Education Track
Chair: Sally Wade, Professor/Sheffield Hallam University
Rachel Troye, Professor/The Oslo School of Architecture
and Design
Bente Irminger/Bergen Academy of Art and Design
Linda Lien/Bergen Academy of Art and Design
Empathy Track
Chair: Lorraine Gamman, Professor/Central Saint Martins
Roger Bateman/Sheffield Hallam University
Claire Craig/Sheffield Hallam University
Niels Hendriks/LUCA School of Arts
Cai Jun, Professor/Tsinghua University
Engagement Track
Chair: Adam Thorpe, Professor/Central Saint Martins
Leon Cruickshank, Professor/Lancaster University
Virginia Tassinari/LUCA School of Arts
Francesca Valsecchi/Tongji University
Yanki Lee/Hong Kong Design Institute
Environment Track
Chair: Mathilda Tham, Professor/Linnaeus University
Susan Evans/Tongji University
Henry Mansah/The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Ethnography Track
Chair: Francis Müller/Zurich University of the Arts
Zhao Chao/Tsinghua University
Franziska Nyffenegger/Zurich University of the Arts
Albert Tsang/Hong Kong Design Institute
Experiment Track
Chair: Maria Hellström Reimer, Professor/Malmo University
Jacob Bang/The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Liesbeth Huybrechts/University of Hasselt
Troels Degn Johansson/The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Andrew Morrison, Professor/The Oslo School of Architecture
and Design
Kirsten Marie Raahauge /The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Ann Merete Ohrt/The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Lau KaKiu (Alumni)/Hong Kong Design Institute
International Academic Partners
Education - Full Paper 097
Thera Jonker, Karen Sikkema
University of the Arts Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands,
The aim of this paper is to present the conceptual framework that
has driven the establishment of the educational model developed
under the CREA European Project. CREA Educational Model and
Didactic Framework represent a best practice in teaching the first
stage of entrepreneurship in intensive Summerschools in 6 cities
in Europe, using Creativity and ICT as leverage of innovation.
The methodology adopted to frame the didactic and teaching
method has been based on four different strategies:
- Literature review based on framing entrepreneurship
- In-depth research with a collection of surveys from a
European panel of students;
- A collection and evaluation of 50 best practice cases;
- piloting with a first edition of a European network of
summer academies developed under the CREA project.
Starting a company requires considerable entrepreneurial skills.
CREA was born to empower these soft skills, driving students
to include creativity and ICT in their entrepreneurial educational
journey. Along with creativity other drivers have been included in
the educational model:
- international exchange of teachers;
- positioning for (very) early stage start-ups;
- physical contact with the students to create a stable
community combined with online mentoring;
- design thinking and strategic business design;
- intercultural cooperation, teambuilding and networking as
pillars of the two training weeks (first week focus on idea
generation, the second on business modeling).
In 2015 a first pilot edition of the 6 CREA Summer Academies has
been realized in 6 European cities. CREA aims to build a bridge
among idea generation and business modeling in order to support
students in the first stage of the travel in the world of start-up.
In 2014 European Commission started a new line of funding pro-
grams focused on supporting new ways to teach entrepreneur-
ship to new generations of high school and university students. A
network of universities, incubators and local agencies answered
to this request with a two years program aiming to combine
research and training in a unique path of knowledge growth fo-
cusing on three main pillars: creativity, ICT and Entrepreneurship.
The project strengthens the European Entrepreneurial base by
setting up a network of summer academies focusing on these
three pillars thus establishing new best-practices in teaching
entrepreneurship. The cross-fertilization between ICT and creative
sectors is particularly important since they are two important
drivers that new entrepreneurs can use to generate disruptive
innovation with start up ideas in different fields.
The methodology adopted to frame the didactic and teaching
method was based on four strategies:
design thinking, business modeling, didactic innovation
Creativity and ICT to drive new entrepreneurship education
Anastasia Konstantelou, Kostas Kutsikos
Arianna Vignati, Francesco Zurlo
University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece,
Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy,
Figure 1. CREA Summer Academy pillars
- Literature review framing generic business start-up activities
and entrepreneurship education activities and the general
contribution of creativity and ICT in the start-up framework;
- In-depth research collecting surveys from a European panel
of students adopting a user centered design approach in the
educational model;
- A collection and evaluation of best practice cases with a
consequent positioning of an innovative educational model
(the CREA Educational Model and Didactic Framework);
- Piloting a first edition of a European network of summer
academies developed under the CREA project.
Starting from the knowledge and experiences the Consortium has
built with past research, CREA has adopted a recursive method:
- the Consortium started with experiences and models of
research and teaching used in past activities in order to
develop a first model of action;
- the first model of research and training has been simultane-
ously compared with best practice cases and tested in prac-
tice with a 1st edition of 6 summer academies;
- the monitoring and assessment activities allowed the
Consortium to redefine the model for the 2nd test;
- at the end of the second edition the Consortium will develop
the best model for Summer Academy to share with a large
panel of Universities all over Europe.ii
The CREA methodology is depicted in figure 2:
Culture and Creativity as New Drivers for
Culture and creativity are increasingly important not only for their
social rule, but because they are the levers for the creation of new
companies, jobs and to generate growth and drive traditional
economies towards new areas of innovation. Within the CREA
project, culture and creativity are recognized to be important to en-
trepreneurship and entrepreneurship education on different levels.
First of all, creativity plays a crucial role in the development of new
businesses in the innovative domains as a driver for invention, cre-
ative new business ideas and innovation. Secondly, a cultural and
creative environment is very important to foster the development
of entrepreneurship and innovation. Thirdly, creativity and creative
methods such as design thinking are more and more recognized
Figure 2. CREA methodology
as being important factors in the strategic design of new business-
es as they contribute to user-centric thinking, market adaptation,
communication skills and other entrepreneurial skills. Therefore,
design thinking and the creative approach to entrepreneurship are
important elements of the CREA entrepreneurship education.
Invention, Innovation and the Cultural and Creative
In the “Theory of Economic Development”, Schumpeter already
proposes that entrepreneurs starting new businesses provide the
engine for economic growth (Schumpeter, 1942). In recent years,
entrepreneurship has indeed come to be perceived as the engine
of economic and social development throughout the world. More-
over, innovation and the use of creativity and ICT have become
very important drivers for entrepreneurial success. ICT and crea-
tivity (design, communication, culture, arts, creative technologies,
etc.) help start-ups not only to update their skills and their commu-
nication strategies according to the market requests of today, but
also play a vital role in innovation and the development of creative
new products and services for mobile, web, etc. For this, the
environment is playing an important role, as physical locations are
a huge factor in fostering the development of entrepreneurial and
therefore innovative and creative environments. In the definition of
Scott (2006) the creative field has three main peculiarities:
- There is a network of firms and workers, creating an interac-
tive agglomeration;
- “It is constituted by infrastructural facilities and social over-
head capital, as schools, universities, research establish-
ments, design centers, and so on” (Scott, 2006: 8);
- It expresses the “cultures, conventions, and institutions”
(Scott, 2006: 8), being characteristic of the agglomerated
system of production and work.
The creation of an innovative entrepreneurial environment has
been discussed by Manimala (2009). He distinguished between
task environment and general environment. The task environment
is defined as composed by “factors which have specific impact
on business activities” (122) such as customers, suppliers, labor
markets, financial institutions, competitors etc. The general envi-
ronment is defined as the collection of economic, socio-cultural,
legal-political and educational systems of a society.
The new-schumpeterian approach perceives the technological,
social and cultural environment as the essential factor for devel-
oping entrepreneurship through creativity. Creativity has collective
and widespread characteristics because the most brilliant people
think new ideas and then other people (entrepreneurs) make
their development possible (West, 1997). According to Fagerberg
(2003), the first phase corresponds to invention, while the second
phase constitutes innovation. Innovation puts the invention into
practice; therefore it is in this phase that creativity and entrepre-
neurship come together in strategic business design.
All these environmental and business design issues are at the
basis of the development of the CREA model, favoring the devel-
opment of entrepreneurial capabilities, at an international level,
starting from creative ideas and with the support of ICT.
Education - Full Paper 099
Creativity in Business Design and Entrepreneurship
Recent studies suggest a significant positive relationship of
intellectual capital with business performance. Intangible assets
are important in management processes since they are consid-
ered to be a critical source of sustainable competitive advantage.
Business start-up success can be partially explained by human,
organizational and relational capital elements. Each of these fac-
tors deals with intangible elements such as entrepreneurial skills,
strategic decision-making, market adaptation, communication
strategy, networking ability and so on. Creativity and design think-
ing highly contribute to these elements in innovative ways. Within
the CREA project, these assets are used as part of the business
design process, as business design is a creative problem-solving
methodology applying the designer’s way of thinking to create
(business) value. Design thinking is a critical part of the CREA
entrepreneurship education, as the principles of design thinking
teach the students and young entrepreneurs to base and evolve
their ideas, products and services in a user-centric way. Taking
the user and customer as the most important starting point for
their business design and product development, start-ups highly
increase their chances of success as they learn to adapt to real
customer needs and market developments. In section 4.0, we
will elaborate on the design thinking methodology as part of the
CREA education.
Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship education covers a wide variety of audienc-
es, objectives, educational material and methods. According
to Fayole and Gailly (2008) entrepreneurship education aims at
defining educational activities based on answering the following
problem-framing questions: Why (objectives, goals)? For whom
(targets, audiences)? What (contents, theories)? How (methods,
pedagogies)? For which results (evaluations, assessments)?
The ‘Why’ dimension. One of the primary objectives of entre-
preneurship education is to provide some kind of educational
(or training) process aiming at influencing individuals’ attitudes,
behavior, values or intentions towards entrepreneurship. An
equally important objective relates to the acquisition of personal
skills in entrepreneurial activity, whereas new business formation,
opportunity recognition and managing of existing small firms have
been recognized as less important objectives.
The ‘For whom’ dimension. Participants in entrepreneurship ed-
ucation programs may have various socio-demographic charac-
teristics and various levels of aspirations. Therefore, the design of
educational activities and programs on entrepreneurship have to
take into account the diversity of audiences, their social, demo-
graphic and psychological characteristics, as well as the academ-
ic background of participants (Bechard and Gregoire, 2005).
The ‘What’ dimension. Both the course focus and content nor-
mally vary according to the specific requirements and needs of
participants. Fayolle and Gailly (2008) distinguish three main axes
for structuring entrepreneurship education: the professional axis,
the spiritual axis, and the theoretical axis. Of particular importance
to the work of CREA is the professional axis of entrepreneurship
education relating to three kinds of knowledge:
Know-what: what one should do to act in a given situation, e.g.
to take advantage of an opportunity, to validate an opportunity, to
conduct market research, to establish a technology company, etc.
Know-how: how one can deal with a given situation. For example,
how to identify risks and face them accordingly, how to combine
work and personal life balance, etc.
Know-who: who are the “right” people and the “right” networks
that will be useful in providing resources and guidance to the new
entrepreneur. These may include specific contributing actors,
such as developers, engineers, marketing experts, as well relevant
organizations such as incubators, venture capital companies,
business angels, etc.
In addition, the spiritual axis is important in CREA as well, as team
building and team spirit as well as developing the entrepreneurial
spirit of individual students plays an important role in the CREA
entrepreneurial education.
The ‘How’ dimension. There is a wide range of pedagogical meth-
ods and approaches being tested and used for teaching entrepre-
neurship, including case studies and role-playing. Overall, entre-
preneurship education researchers categorize teaching methods
into two groups: the “traditional methods” (mostly lecture-based)
and the “innovative methods” (action-based), also known as
“passive methods” and “active methods”, respectively. The latter
require the instructor to facilitate learning and apply methods that
enable students’ self-discovery. Other methods used, but not as
common as the previous group, include: a) business/computer or
game simulations b) video and filming and c) role models or guest
speakers. CREA specifically focuses on innovative action-based
methods, building on the student’s ability to use the creative
approach to their entrepreneurship and business idea, as is also
discussed in the following section.
The ‘For which results’ dimension. The issues and challenges re-
garding the assessment of entrepreneurship education programs
relates on one hand to the selection of evaluation criteria and on
the other hand to their effective measurement. The selection of
evaluation criteria is linked to the diversity of objectives of entre-
preneurship teaching programs (Gartner and Vesper, 1994). Such
criteria can be related to specific knowledge, specific skills and
tools, level of interest, degree of participation in the classroom,
etc., based on what the programs’ organizers want and are able
to measure.
Based on the above framework for entrepreneurship education
developed by Fayolle and Gailly (2008), and as a first step towards
addressing the CREA challenges, we developed the CREA Edu-
cational Model (CEM) and Didactic Framework, which is present-
ed in more detail in later sections.
Practice-based Approach: Design Thinking
and Business Modeling
Creative approaches to entrepreneurship are based on a number
of nearly opposite assumptions from the predictive approach.
First, in a creative approach, entrepreneurs start with who they
are and what they know - personal achievements and passion,
experience, education (Fiet & Patel, 2006). Second, it is assumed
that the entrepreneurs initiate actions from a position of inclusion
in a wider social framework (Granovetter, 1985, 1992). Observing
and reflecting on her situation, an aspiring entrepreneur may ask,
what can I do with my own resources? Who do I know that can
lead me to other, much-needed resources? Third, entrepreneurs
create the venture’s culture and overall operating environment
through social relations (Alvarez & Barney, 2007), thus intrinsically
taking into consideration the wider network of entities that they
need to link with. Particularly, they bring along new people who
reshape perceptions of the environment and modify beliefs about
what is desirable, feasible, and viable. Venture stakeholders are
not necessarily assembled based on some measurable fit with the
objective target opportunity, but rather based on who demon-
strates passion to act with the available means (Dew et al., 2009).
As can be learned from this paper, it is these factors that the
practice-based approach of the CREA entrepreneurial education
is stimulating through learning by doing, learning by designing,
learning by networking and learning by reflection (reflective prac-
titioner). Design thinking and business modeling, combined with
team building and action learning, are the methods in which CREA
is achieving those goals.
Design Thinking: from Theory to Practice
Design is becoming a pervasive aspect in different fields and
additionally increasing its importance in the set of disciplines in
training programs addressed to entrepreneurship. A huge range
of subfields, such as industrial design, product service system
design, communication and interaction design, service design,
and strategic design are becoming crucial for several new areas
of business for future start-ups. ICT are driving the creation of a
large panel of new companies opening a need of knowledge in
designing the service, the whole experience of use and interac-
tion, and the communication channels for new entrepreneurs.
Design should support the process of creation of a new company
because it is close to the company strategy: strategic design is a
mindset that drives to face challenges and problems in the entre-
preneurial journey. Future-oriented entrepreneurs need to meas-
ure their success in terms of relevance of designed products,
services and conceptual solutions for people's everyday lives.
Entrepreneurs like designers need to go out and observe people's
experiences in the real world rather than rely on extensive quanti-
tative data to develop their insights (Brown, 2011).
They have to begin with immersion in real-life situations to gain
insight into experiences and meanings forming the basis for
reflection, imagination, and design (Nelson and Stolterman, 2012).
The process of business idea generation should then start from
ill-defined problems (Buchanan 1992; Gaver 2012), integrating
processes of observation and reflection that generate a purpose
for design thinking activities aimed to create products, processes,
and services that transform reality.
CREA started with a purpose to create a training program able to
improve such skills and creating a bridge between design thinking
and business modeling theories and practices. The learning theory
at the base of the CREA educational model is the Design Experien-
tial learning (Dewey, 1938) with a holistic model of the experiential
learning process (Kolb, 1984). According to the six propositions of
the theory (Kolb, 2005) we identified the specific focus of the CREA
learning purpose in the entrepreneurship education.
Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of out-
comes: in CREA students pass through a process combining
theory and practice in a two weeks training program. In CREA
students start with an idea and vision, and go out with an entre-
preneurial attitude together with a first start-up experience. All
learning is relearning: in CREA students are driven to a continuous
cycle of examination, testing, integration and redefinition of ideas.
Learning requires the resolution of conflicts: an important part
of the CREA process is the team-forming and the teambuilding.
At the beginning of each summer academy, interdisciplinary and
intercultural teams are built. In these teams, different fields of
expertise, different disciplines and different cultural and educa-
tional backgrounds come together. In the CREA learning environ-
ment, students learn to use these differences within their team as
vehicles for creativity, cooperation and professional development,
supported by their coaches and specific didactic tools. Empow-
erment and resolution of conflicts in the team working are the
leverage of the work on their business idea. Furthermore, students
also learn from the resolution of the conflicts they encounter
between their own ideas and (business) designs and the feedback
and needs they get from real-life users and customers. Students
are specifically urged to gather input from users and customers
to improve their business idea and market potential, and the ac-
cording adaptation of their own ideas is a very important learning
experience. Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the
world: in CREA personal motivations of students are at the base of
the learning process. A continue process of reflection combining
personal thinking and behaving with relevant needs and problems
recognized in the global society is the core of design thinking
and business modeling practice. Learning results from synergetic
transactions between the person and the environment: in CREA
students spend two full time weeks sharing time of study, practice
activities, leisure, game, field visit including local communities and
different stakeholders in the learning process. Learning is the pro-
cess of creating knowledge: including dedicated sessions for the
knowledge sharing between students and teachers and adopting
specific tools to collect feedback during and after the learning
process, CREA represents a platform for the continuous creation
of knowledge around creativity, ICT and entrepreneurship. The
learning experience of CREA in each summer academy could be
different and balanced on the four learning styles (Kolb, 2005):
abstract conceptualization, active experimentation, concrete
experience and reflective observation. The different mix of learning
methods (Fig. 3) is generating different learning experiences for
the summer academies.
Figure 3. Learning methods in the 4 clusters of learning styles adopted in CREA
Education - Full Paper 101
Business Start-up Process
New ventures must tackle a number of diverse problems, pitfalls,
and obstacles. In an effort to systematize the steps towards new
venture creation and to offer guidance and advice to aspiring
entrepreneurs against unpredictable problems, many scholars
proposed a more systematic, process view of entrepreneurship
whereby tested steps are taken to identify and evaluate a business
opportunity, formulate a business model, quantify the resources
needed, create a plan, and implement it. According to this view,
an entrepreneur ‘‘works backwards’’: from fixed assumptions
about the demands of exploiting an entrepreneurial opportuni-
ty to specifying, executing, and monitoring the plan (Chandler,
DeTienne, McKelvie, & Mumford, 2011). Along this line of thinking,
Applegate (2014) has identified two stages in the entrepreneur-
ial journey: The first is the Pursue Opportunities stage, in which
aspiring entrepreneurs first recognize potential opportunities and
make the decision to become entrepreneurs and then adapt and
shape the opportunity as they clarify assumptions and reduce
uncertainty as the new venture is launched. The second stage is
the Pivot to Growth stage, where entrepreneurs start to engage
with the ecosystem and make the transition from a startup to a
sustainable business by exploiting growth options, scaling up
the business and harvesting value. Other scholars have worked
further along these lines and have refined this approach. Reyn-
olds (2000), for example, has come up with a business start-
up process that is considered to have four stages, with three
transitions. The first transition occurs when an individual decides
to pursue a venture creation – the gestation stage. The second
transition occurs when the gestation stage is complete, firm birth
has occurred, and an infancy-stage firm is in place as a running
business. Unfortunately, for many entrepreneurs, the next stage is
to abandon the effort. For the successful ones, though, the third
transition is a passage into the adolescence stage. In a subse-
quent work, Grilo and Thurik (2005) refined these stages into
seven engagement levels, which are comprised of:
two nascent stages (“thinking about it” and ”taking steps for
starting up”), two business stages (“having a young business” and
“having an older business”), two exit stages (“give up” and “no longer
being an entrepreneur”), and an outsider stage (“never thought
about it”).
Later on, Van der Zwan, Thurik, and Grilo (2010) and Van der
Zwan, Verheul, Thurik and Grilo (2013) further adjusted the
aforementioned levels proposing a 5-step entrepreneurial ladder,
where each step comes as an answer to the following question
‘Have you ever started a business or are you taking steps to start
one?: No, it never came to my mind (‘never considered’), No, but I
am thinking about it (‘thinking’), Yes, I am currently taking steps to
start a new business (‘taking steps’), Yes, I have started or taken
over a business in the last three years and it is still active (‘young
business’), Yes, I started or took over a business more than three
years ago and it is still active (‘mature business’).
Three side answer categories were also defined:
(2a) No, I thought of it or had already taken steps to start a busi-
ness but gave up (‘gave up’).
(5a) Yes, I once started a business, but currently am no longer an
entrepreneur since the business has failed (‘failure’).
(5b) Yes, I once started a business, but currently I am no longer an
entrepreneur since the business was sold, transferred or closed
In this model, firm birth takes place between the third (‘taking
steps’) and the fourth (‘young business’) stages. Understanding
the influence of a number of variables in entrepreneurial ladder
transitions has been an important area of research in the field
of entrepreneurship. Their appreciation and understanding also
plays a key role in developing the right educational activities that
can help an individual move from one step of the ladder to the
next. Such variables include, for example, the role of gender, the
presence of role models - and in particular self-employed family
members which appear important for predicting involvement in
entrepreneurial activity - and the individual risk tolerance, which
has been found to have an impact on overall advancement in the
entrepreneurial process, although to some extent it holds back
individual’s intentions to start up a business. Of particular interest
is the role of educational activities in entrepreneurial activity.
Although there is significant empirical evidence that there is an
overall positive effect of the education level on entrepreneurial pro-
gress, the impact of education level is significantly more important
at the first steps of the “entrepreneurial ladder” - i.e. in becoming
aware of entrepreneurship as a possible career option and in
forming early entrepreneurial intentions - but appears detrimental
when advancing to later stages, where relevant experience and
skills may become more important (Van der Zwan, Verheul, Thurik
and Grilo, 2013). Therefore, looking at the business startup pro-
cess a need emerged for a specific training program addressed
mainly to the nascent stages of the entrepreneurial journey, when
the idea generation is expected to unravel to a business model.
CREA Case Study: Bridging Idea Generation
and Business Modeling
Thus, the nascent stages of entrepreneurship have proven to the
partners to be the best framework to establish an innovative train-
ing program focusing on creativity and ICT because in this stage
cross fertilization between design thinking, teambuilding and ICT
opens new paths of entrepreneurial journeys. CREA has been the
incubator of research and a piloting at European level of this new
model of training. Besides cross-fertilization between creativity,
entrepreneurship and ICT, internationalization and networking
were two other very important objectives of CREA. It functioned
as a laboratory to test the possibility of enlarging the network of
institutions participating in the Summer Academies in order to
increase the involved competences.
Best Practice Case Research
To establish a unique educational model customized on the three
pillars of CREA (creativity, ICT and entrepreneurship), the Consor-
tium performed a best practice case research. We identified over
50 programmes in Europe and US relevant for Entrepreneurship;
15 best practices were analysed and compared with the CREA
Educational Model in order to develop a unique and innovative
Didactic Framework able to distinguish CREA with a real value
proposition for high school and university students.
The questions that we focus on in the analysis of best practices
were: How to stimulate entrepreneurship in an early stage of 'be-
coming an entrepreneur'? Where to put the emphasis and through
which tools and methods? In which way is CREA an addition to
the existing field of entrepreneurship education?
In line with these questions, the pillars of CREA Educational Model
were narrowed down to make the collection of data feasible.
Hence, the comparative framework has been formed taking into
account the first three pillars of CREA Educational Model, and the
selection criteria that led to the list of 15 good examples.
The key findings allowed identifying 5 drivers of innovation:
1. Individual vs Team + Local vs International. CREA Summer
Academies present a good balance among local impact and in-
ternational points of view. This strength allows to push local values
and expertise but connected with several international opportu-
nities and elements: experts exchange, multicultural approach to
participants, international events etc.
2- The three pillars (ICT, Creativity and Entrepreneurship). Our
best practices research highlights there are many courses and
programs focused on the combination of two of these three pil-
lars: ICT and Entrepreneurship, Creativity and ICT, Creativity and
CREA is the first program that combines all three pillars generat-
ing new points of view in the European training panorama.
3- Knowledge vs skills + learn vs practice. CREA chooses to
stress the practice-based approach while keeping a good balance
among knowledge transfer (lectures, best practice cases, key-
notes etc.) and skill building.
4- Idea development vs modelling + design vs management.
CREA wants to balance a design approach to the business idea
development and management of the business model. Conse-
quently, CREA Summer Academies have a strategic position on
the early stage of business development (the nascent stage).
5- Duration and costs. The average cost for similar training pro-
gram is between 1000 to 3000 Euros. This information is at the
basis of the Business Model of the CREA Summer Academies
after the expiry of the EU funding.
CREA Educational Model
According to the position of CREA in the panorama of training
programs and events for start-ups the Educational Model has
been set up based on 4 pillars:
1- Objectives. The goals of the summer academies have been
summarized in 4 main values: increase the entrepreneurial atti-
tudes/culture of participants, instill/enhance entrepreneurial com-
petences and skills, actively pursue new business formation and/
or development, raise awareness about and/or enhance societal
aspects of entrepreneurship
2- Learning Outcomes for the CREA summer schools have been
defined as “statements of what a learner knows, understands
and is able to do upon completion of a learning process”. These
statements have been defined in terms of knowledge, skills and
competences. Each summer academy has identified specific learn-
ing outcomes according to the general framework shared among
the consortium but identifying specific focus according to their
particular expertise, program, schedule of contents and topics.
3- Structure, Contents and Teaching Method. Contents have been
selected close to thematic priority areas of a CREA: creativity, ICT
and entrepreneurship. Creativity: creativity and idea formation,
design thinking, pitching and communication. Entrepreneurship:
lean startup, business models, business planning, business model
canvas. ICT: ICT trends, big data, web development and mobile
application, user experience and interaction.
4- Evaluation. A set of tools has been developed according to the
need to evaluate the whole experience of students and teachers
at CREA summer academies. The main drivers of the assessment
have been: relevance, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.
CREA Didactic Framework
Following the principles of the CREA Educational Model, the shared
approach between the CREA partners was made more concrete
in the General Didactic Framework, describing ways of teaching,
coaching, team building et cetera. It was turned into a concrete
handbook to help all CREA partners, including future organizers of
CREA Summer Academies, to better understand and act on the
practice based approach to entrepreneurship education.
Implementation of Summer Academies
In 2015 a first edition of Summer Academies has been realized from
June to September in 6 European cities. Each summer academy
hosted experts and professors covering the three main areas of
CREA: creativity, ICT and Entrepreneurship. People from SMEs
and successful young entrepreneurs have been invited as keynote
speakers and mentors for the Summer Academies. Particular atten-
tion has been paid to the staff exchange and European mobility of
professors and experts from the universities and incubators involved
in the CREA project. Also, professional development of teachers and
professors was enlarged through learning from each other during
international meetings and additional webinars about the CREA Di-
dactic Framework. This way, all partners benefitted from each other’s
expertise in course content as well as teaching methods.
Students in the first edition of CREA summer academies passed
through three main steps: from summer academy (among a call
for application and a first phase of selection) to the mentoring and
prototyping phase (after the two weeks of training) and finally the
ICT Business Idea Contest where the two best teams of every
Summer Academy (selected by a local jury) have had the chance
to present their ideas in a pitching session in front of investors
and incubators. Each summer academy addressed in its course
the principles of entrepreneurship and creativity, as well as the
use of ICT and technologies in a practice-based manner. The
first edition of CREA Summer Academies involved 134 students
from universities of 23 countries: Newcastle Summer Academy
Education - Full Paper 103
(14 participants, from 8 countries), Ljubljana Summer Academy
(23 participants, from 4 countries), Utrecht Summer Academy (21
participants, from 12 countries), Tallinn Summer Academy (20 par-
ticipants, from 4 countries), Lake Constance Summer Academy
(28 participants, from 4 countries), Lake Como Summer Academy
(28 participants, from 9 countries).
Practice Based Learning In Teams
With the students’ ambitions and learning questions as a starting
point, the Summer Academies are characterized by a practice
based approach evolving around student teams working on their
own business idea, thus having a real start-up experience. Prac-
tice and theory are integrated, and theory is used to support the
formation and development of the business idea. The students,
bringing in different fields of expertise and different cultural and
educational approaches, learn from each other. In the process of
creating and solving complex problems together, they learn how
to communicate and work together in a pressure cooker situa-
tion. Professors, entrepreneurs and experts offer their knowledge
and support in the role of teachers or coaches in a wide range
of didactic forms, varying from seminars, workshops, field visits,
presentations, peer learning and consultancies.
Too ls
A set of tools has been adopted from all the summer academies:
Business model generation (and business model canvas), Value
proposition canvas and User journey canvas. Additionally, a set of
innovative tools has been developed during the CREA project and
tested in the first edition of Summer Academies.
1- Me and my start-up team. Tool for team building (adapted from
the Ofman model) tested in 3 Summer Academies: Utrecht, Lake
Constance, Lake Como
2- Unpack Creativity Canvas. Innovative Tool developed in order
to cover the gap between idea generation and the business model
canvas. It has been tested in 2 summer academies: Utrecht and
Lake Como
3- Pitch cooking tool. Innovative Tool developed to support the
pitching preparation. It is a set of pitch guidelines followed by all
the teams involved in the CREA ICT Business Idea Contest.
Mentoring Activity
Mentoring and coaching were offered during the two weeks of
training to all teams to support them in the development of their
ideas. The coaching sessions took place in the afternoon in order
to have an application of tools and method learned in the morning
lectures. Each summer academy has managed the coaching and
mentoring activity choosing between or combining the following
modalities: 1) One coach has been chosen for each team in order
to have a continuous collaboration on the development of the
business idea; 2) Each team had the chance to talk to several
coaches with expertise in different fields (e.g. business model,
marketing, design, ICT etc.), so to receive different feedback and
view on their ideas.
After the two weeks of training the teams from all over the Sum-
mer Academies have joined the online platform developed by Po-
litecnico di Milano to manage on-distance mentoring throughout
the prototyping phase until the Business Contest. Since one of the
main goals of CREA is to support students in the first stage of the
travel in the world of start-up the panel of experts and mentors in-
volved in the mentoring activities has been selected with previous
experience in similar activities (business advisor, collaboration with
incubators, experiences with start-ups etc.). The mentoring pro-
posed in the CREA process supports the teams in setting up their
business model and prepare the pitch presentation at the CREA
ICT Business Idea Context. To ensure the mentoring approach will
be sustainable even after the CREA Contest (in particular for the
winning teams) the consortium has adopted two strategies:
at local level each partner has set up a collaboration with local
incubators or similar organizations able to follow the teams after
the summer academies and the contest (in case of good team
with innovative ideas);
at European level partners have been established collaboration
with incubation programs and a network of incubators in order to
create a connection between CREA and the existing incubation
services offered in Europe.
The results achieved for the first year of Summer Academies can
been summarized as follows: 318 students applied to the CREA
call for applications, 43 nationalities of students involved, studying
in 23 countries where they are enrolled in 68 universities, 134
participants; 33 teams formed during the summer academies
with business ideas in the early stage, 70 teachers and experts
involved, 5 Incubators directly involved, 65.1% of students with a
highly positive overall satisfaction.
After the first edition, overall strengths have been identified:
- Main pillars: focusing on educating students in the cross-
road of entrepreneurship, creativity and ICT position CREA
as a first program combining all these pillars which is innova-
tive in the European training panorama;
- International network of partners: in CREA, academic
and business perspectives come together through a Euro-
pean partnership among universities, incubators, regional
development agencies and business support initiatives;
- Intercultural teambuilding: applications to the summer acad-
emies are accepted both from individual participants and
team, coming from all over the world. Thus, intercultural
cooperation & teambuilding are key elements of the training
- Research + Training + Event: CREA combines in a unique
program both research on creative start-ups, a entrepre-
neurial training program and an international contest;
- Bridging idea generation and incubation programs: winning
participants have the chance to be introduced to incubators
all over Europe;
- Practice based approach: CREA chooses to stress practice
approach while keeping a good balance among knowledge
transfer and skill building;
- Co-creation of knowledge: students participate actively in
co-creating the high quality of the CREA Summer Acade-
mies (educational “active method”);
- Teachers/mentors/participants: co-construction of knowl-
edge [“to facilitate learning and apply methods that enable
students’ self-discovery.” (Masaliba, 2010)];
- International and interdisciplinary faculty: teachers’ exchange
allows for covering all areas of interest, skills, knowledge and
- Local impact with international point of view: CREA summer
academies present a good balance among local impact and
international networks. This strength allows to push local
values and expertise while being connected with internation-
al opportunities and knowledge;
- Tools: me-and-my-startup-team, unpack creativity canvas,
pitch cooking tool are designed to empower start-up de-
velopment stages between idea generation and business
- Online mentoring: with the online tool, CREA uses an open
platform for sharing, discussing, evaluating and managing
coaching and mentoring activities online;
- A nascent stage program. CREA has a unique positioning
in the market for (very) early stage start-ups learning ‘how
to become a start-up’ (the nascent stage, Grilo and Thurik,
2005) targeting teams who want to learn and grow & individ-
uals who want to join a team.
This first edition of CREA Summer Academies demonstrates the
educational model and the didactic framework have been very
effective in terms of skill building, knowledge transfer and learning
practice. We improved the second edition of summer academies
starting from the results of the best practice research, results of
the first edition of CREA and according to the value proposition
fixed for the CREA research and training program:
- domain: Creativity + ICT + entrepreneurship are the main
pillars that drive research and innovation in the CREA
- nascent stage: CREA is a set of research, training and events
addressed to start-ups focused on Creativity and ICT in the
nascent stage of business process;
- design thinking + business modeling: CREA is bridging idea
generation and business modeling.
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Full-text available
A survey in 1991 of 750 business schools and 226 engineering schools identified 370 universities with entrepreneurship courses. Entrepreneurship courses were taken to mean courses on business entry, whether by start-up or acquisition and whether independently or within an established organization. Descriptions of 445 courses at 177 four year colleges and universities both inside and outside the United States were generated. Of the 177 schools describing their courses, 102 (58%) gave brief accounts of pedagogical experimentation: 60 (59%) described successful experiments, 42 (41%) described new things tried that had not worked out. A summary of some of these experiments is provided and discussed
Full-text available
: This article represents a broad and occasionally polemical meditation on the nature and significance of creative cities. I seek to situate the concept of creative cities within the context of the so-called new economy and to trace out the connections of these phenomena to recent shifts in technologies, structures of production, labor markets, and the dynamics of locational agglomeration. I try to show, in particular, how the structures of the new economy unleash historically specific forms of economic and cultural innovation in modern cities. The argument is concerned passim with policy issues and, above all, with the general possibilities and limitations faced by policymakers in any attempt to build creative cities. The effects of globalization are discussed, with special reference to the prospective emergence of a worldwide network of creative cities bound together in relations of competition and cooperation. In the conclusion, I pinpoint some of the darker dimensions—both actual and potential—of creative cities.
Purpose The aim of this article is to offer a conceptual framework in entrepreneurship education largely inspired by education sciences and discuss its two main levels, the ontological and educational levels. This framework is then used to discuss various types of entrepreneurship teaching programs, focusing on three broad categories of learning processes. Design/methodology/appraoch This article uses intensive reviews of literature in the fields of education and entrepreneurship. The teaching framework and the derived propositions are intended to provide a bridge between education sciences and the field of entrepreneurship and seeks to stress the scientific legitimacy of entrepreneurship education. Findings Finds that there is a need to reconsider entrepreneurship education in its wide diversity, both from an ontological and pedagogical point‐of‐view. The range of theoretical choices, objectives, publics, pedagogical methods and institutional context should be approached through the lenses of multiple teaching models and learning processes, which can be structured around a general framework. Research limitations/implications The framework allows for the combination of both the concept of teaching models and learning process in a general theory‐driven framework and their applicability to specific entrepreneurship education situations. Practical implications The authors' contribution sheds a new light, both on the design and on the implementation of entrepreneurship teaching programs. An explicit conceptual framework should help the effective and systematic design, management and evaluation of new or existing programs, along all the relevant dimensions. Originality/value The authors propose a conceptual framework, a canonic teaching model, in entrepreneurship education.
We develop and validate measures of causation and effectuation approaches to new venture creation and test our measures with two samples of entrepreneurs in young firms. Our measure of causation is a well-defined and coherent uni-dimensional construct. We propose that effectuation is a formative, multidimensional construct with three associated sub-dimensions (experimentation, affordable loss, and flexibility) and one dimension shared with the causation construct (pre-commitments). As specified by Sarasvathy (2001), we also show that causation is negatively associated with uncertainty, while experimentation, a sub-dimension of effectuation, is positively correlated with uncertainty. The major contribution is the resulting validated scales that measure causation and effectuation.