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Coleman Entrepreneurial College in Action

Posted By Carla Hixson, Monday, April 07, 2014

Carla Hixson, Associate Vice President for Continuing Education, Training and Innovation

Bismarck State College, North Dakota (2013 Coleman Action Grants Awardee)

 

Bismarck State College (BSC) has established an Office of Innovation as a way to foster a culture of innovation campus wide. These practices can be applied to creating a culturally rich entrepreneurial community as well.

In 2007, we implemented the Office of Innovation with the mission to create a culture of innovation for faculty, staff and students.  Innovation at BSC must be employee driven, so it became important to approach this new culture as an organizational change. BSC made changes that were clearly connected to our culture not only in operations, systems, and procedures but it also tied innovation to our campus strategies, values, mission, and vision.  We used three talking points to communicate that innovation was part of this cultural change on campus.

  1.  Innovation is important to BSC and to you,
  2.  Innovation is everybody’s job, and
  3.  Innovation can be learned.

This same cultural change approach can be used to incorporate entrepreneurship into your campus and community and our 2013 Coleman Action Grant project is an extension of this in that we are working to Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship.  But before you embark on a series of activities or program you must ask yourself “is your organization ready?” On a continuum, assess whether “your organization wants to be entrepreneurial” on one end to “your organization is entrepreneurial” on the other end. In helping you assess, ask yourself, do you have operations, systems, and procedures that prevent or discourage entrepreneurial behaviors? Or do you have operations, systems, and procedures that encourage or require entrepreneurial behaviors?

If you have operations, systems, and procedures that prevent or discourage entrepreneurial behavior you can begin to change the culture within your organization along four distinct and important levels. At each level you address the ability to “impact” the organization’s capability to change culturally. The higher the levels number the more impact the activities will have on the organization. That said, the lower the number the easier it is to implement within the organization with relatively minimal time commitment.

Here’s our advice and some potential activities to consider at each level:

Level One: Environment

·         Developing goals and measurements specific to operations, policies and procedures that reinforce desired changes.

·         Establish a physical environment that reinforces the changes.

Examples include: leadership commitment to entrepreneurship announcement, a “kick off” event and a campus wide project.

 

Level Two: Work Structure

·         Establish an organizational structure that will reinforce operational changes.

·         Eliminate rules and policies that hinder performance of new methods and procedures.

·         Create new rules and policies that reinforce entrepreneurship activities

Examples include: an operationally “flat” campus, employee empowerment training, implementation of LEAN office, establish a process to bring ideas forward beyond traditional budgeting process.

 

Level Three: Interpersonal Behaviors

Activities to consider:

·         Replace current training with training that reinforces desired behaviors.

·         Develop goals and measurements that reinforce the desired behaviors and provide rewards.

·         Publicly recognize and reward employees who change.

·         Develop new rewards and recognition that reinforce the desired ways of operating.

·         Establish ceremonies and events that reinforce new ways of doing things, such as awards ceremonies and recognition events for teams and employees who achieve goals or successfully implement changes.

Examples include: training, a certification program, incorporating expected behaviors into job descriptions and performance reviews, entrepreneurship ceremony with individual and team recognition and awards.

Level Four: Values & Norms

Activities to consider:

·         Develop new customs and norms that reinforce the new ways.

·         Incorporate communication that reinforces the new customs and norms.

·         Use multiple channels of communication to deliver consistent messages before, during and after changes are made.

Examples include: An annual dashboard report, individual employees recognizing others for entrepreneurship activities, regular updates to administration and through internal campus communications, and establishment of an external advisory group.

 

Through our journey in campus-wide entrepreneurship, we’ve learned that change within an organization takes time. Activities at each level provide a way for individuals to see entrepreneurial success in the short run and into the future. By applying these same principles to entrepreneurship, it can become an integral part of any culture.

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