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Episode 18 Fireside Chat
The phrase “think outside the box” has become synonymous for calls of innovation. It is often associated with critical thinking and is designed to inspire solutions that supposedly do not follow established line of thinking. However, thinking outside the box still recognizes the existence of the box (i.e. the established problem or the established paradigm). The Founders of Educators Park, Dr. Maskara and Dr. Chen, propose a slightly different viewpoint. In their opinion, what effective innovation often needs is not just thinking outside the box but breaking the box. Perhaps that when one thinks in a way such that established problem (i.e. the way a problem has been defined / widely accepted) is not recognized at face value. Rather, the present situation is taken as is and analysis is performed anew with healthy disregard for existing constraints in search of the root cause behind the problem. Then solutions to address the newly defined problem within the newly established constraints is crafted with some level of ingenuity. The resulting change is often further-reaching and world-changing.
It is widely recognized that innovation happens in numerous ways and falls on a spectrum from marginal change to ground-breaking concept. However, even a small change in the existing method, process, concept, etc. can result in the efficiency gains. At the same time, a paradigm shifting innovation like the invention of the wheel or internet can change the global landscape beyond recognition.
Many communities around the world are unhappy with their kids’ education. They complain about everything from poor quality teachers, to crumbling infrastructure, inadequate STEM training, segregated student body, lack of books and resources and unsafe environment. Several entrepreneurs have developed and are currently working on different solutions to address these problems for school systems, teachers, parents, and students. However, we may be better served if we were to think deeper. We have been attuned to associate education with schools but that does not have to be the case. The basic need here is to efficiently and effectively transfer the accumulated knowledge of mankind to the next generation and to teach it necessary survival skills, communication skills, and societal interaction skills. In the current landscape, so much resources and huge sums of money to build and operate schools, and teachers are often deemed to be underpaid, underappreciated and often underperforming at the same time. There is wide disparity between the quality of education based on location and resources. But what if an entrepreneur were to start with the basic need and the current education landscape and look for solutions taking into account all the students maturity, natural disposition, background, and diversity needs, among others. Such an approach could possibly reduce the price of investments in schools. Individuals best suited to impart the relevant skills could do so in varied settings and environment, possibly even at their residences, places of work or underutilized public places. On the other hand, if an entrepreneur were to attempt to tackle identified problems like lack of resources or inadequate STEM training, they would still be working within the construct of a school. Maybe "schooling" needs to be deconstructed.
Founder, CEO 创始人、
Co-founder, director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center 联合创始人、创新创业中心主任
Serial entrepreneur actively involved in incubating and advising startups. Work experience in corporations of different sizes across multiple countries. Well traveled and fluent in five languages including English and Spanish and conversational skills in Chinese. Well-versed in technology. Author of the Entrepreneurs Handbook published by China Renmin University Press and eecommended by Steve Hoffman, CEO of Founder's Space, the top 10 incubator (according to Inc. and Forbes magazine). As an active angel investor and serial entrepreneur Professor Maskara serves as an entrepreneurial tutor and senior consultant in international companies and upcoming founders.
STARTUP GRIND CHONGQING
Chapter Director | CBI Founder