Hixson, Associate Vice President for Continuing Education, Training and
State College, North Dakota (2013 Coleman Action Grants Awardee)
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.
- Innovation is important to BSC and to you,
- Innovation is everybody’s job, and
- 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?
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.
our advice and some potential activities to consider at each level:
goals and measurements specific to operations, policies and procedures that
reinforce desired changes.
a physical environment that reinforces the changes.
include: leadership commitment to entrepreneurship announcement, a “kick off” event
and a campus wide project.
an organizational structure that will reinforce operational changes.
rules and policies that hinder performance of new methods and procedures.
new rules and policies that reinforce entrepreneurship activities
include: an operationally “flat” campus, employee empowerment training, implementation
of LEAN office, establish a process to bring ideas forward beyond traditional
Activities to consider:
current training with training that reinforces desired behaviors.
goals and measurements that reinforce the desired behaviors and provide rewards.
recognize and reward employees who change.
new rewards and recognition that reinforce the desired ways of operating.
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:
new customs and norms that reinforce the new ways.
communication that reinforces the new customs and norms.
multiple channels of communication to deliver consistent messages before,
during and after changes are made.
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.
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.