The Value Creators Podcast Episode #38 – Professor Mark Packard On the Future Of Business Education

Entrepreneurship can be learned via philosophy and principles: cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, fostering adaptability, and problem-solving skills, and embracing dynamic market processes.

Mark Packard, Professor Of Business And Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University and Director of the Madden Center for Value Creation, contrasts entrepreneurial business education with traditional business paradigms. An entrepreneurial curriculum focuses on dynamic market processes and the pivotal role of the entrepreneur in the capitalist market system. Mark proposes experiential learning, where students engage with real-world challenges, fostering adaptability and problem-solving abilities crucial in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Mark emphasizes the broader impact of entrepreneurial thinking, spanning industries such as healthcare, where innovative models like direct primary care challenge established norms. By integrating philosophical insights and subjectivism, entrepreneurial education can cultivate a mindset of continuous learning and value creation. Mark underscores the importance of introspection and experimentation in breaking free from conventional thinking patterns. Ultimately, the conversation highlights the transformative potential of entrepreneurial education in fostering innovation, adaptability, and societal change across all sectors.


Knowledge Capsule:

Current Challenges in Business Education:

  • Traditional business education relies on methods and processes from the industrial era, which may not align with the needs of the digital age.
  • Educational institutions exhibit reluctance to adopt new approaches due to institutional inertia and established norms.
  • There are inefficiencies in both teaching methods and organizational structures within educational institutions, leading to suboptimal outcomes.
  • Business education often fails to foster entrepreneurial mindsets and skills, which are increasingly essential in today’s business landscape.

Importance of Subjectivism in Business:

  • Subjectivism is a strange-sounding concept for business – but understanding it is essential for creating value, which is the purpose of all business.
  • Subjectivism highlights the significance of individual intentions, values, and perceptions in shaping economic behavior.
  • Emphasizing subjectivism encourages businesses to prioritize understanding customers and meeting their diverse needs and preferences as individuals, in both B2B and B2C..
  • Subjectivist thinking challenges the traditional focus on processes and methods in management, enabling a more creative, more adaptive, more innovative, and therefore more customer-oriented approach.

Entrepreneurship as the core strategy for all businesses::

  • Entrepreneurship involves creating innovative value propositions that address emerging customer needs or desires.
  • Entrepreneurial organizations are better positioned to adapt to market changes and to bring innovative new solutions to market quickly, leading to sustained competitive advantage.
  • Businesses that embrace entrepreneurship as their core strategy are more likely to achieve long-term success and resilience in dynamic market environments.

Focus on Customer Experience:

  • Prioritizing the customer experience involves designing products, services, and interactions around customer preferences and desires.
  • Companies like Amazon and Apple exemplify the benefits of focusing on delivering exceptional value experiences, leading to customer loyalty and market dominance.
  • Customer-centric businesses continuously seek feedback and iterate on their offerings to ensure they remain aligned with evolving customer expectations.

Ambidextrous Organizations:

  • Ambidextrous organizations effectively balance the need for innovation (entrepreneurship) with operational efficiency (management).
  • Achieving ambidexterity often requires structuring teams or departments dedicated to innovation alongside those focused on day-to-day operations.
  • In today’s fast-paced business environment, ambidexterity is critical for organizations to navigate uncertainty and drive sustainable growth.

Influence of Austrian Economics:

  • The only real economics for business: traditional economics thinks top-down in aggregates like GDP, the output of an economic machine that can be manipulated and managed. The brand of economics for business is bottom-up, thinking about value for individual customers and the entrepreneurial processes to deliver value.
  • Subjective Value: Austrian economics emphasizes the subjective nature of value, highlighting that value is determined by individual preferences rather than objective measures.
  • Dynamic Market Processes: Austrian economics offers a more realistic understanding of market dynamics, emphasizing the role of entrepreneurship and spontaneous order in economic outcomes.
  • Implications for Business: Businesses informed by Austrian economics are more attuned to customer preferences, market uncertainties, and the importance of innovation in driving economic growth.

Alternative Curriculum Proposal:

  • The proposed curriculum seeks to integrate entrepreneurial principles, customer-centricity, and complex thinking into business education.
  • The program may include courses on entrepreneurial mindset development, customer experience design, complexity theory, and innovation management.
  • Students would engage in real-world projects and experiential learning opportunities to apply theoretical concepts in entrepreneurial contexts, fostering a holistic understanding of business dynamics.

Importance of Entrepreneurship-Centered Education:

  • Emphasis on understanding the dynamic nature of the economy, influenced by Austrian economics principles.
  • Highlights the pivotal role of the entrepreneur in navigating market complexities and driving innovation.
  • Prioritizes teaching how ideas are generated, developed, and translated into innovative products or services.

Curriculum Design:

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset Development: Focuses on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, which includes creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.
  • Practical Skills: Includes essential operational knowledge such as accounting, finance, and organizational structure, but with a secondary emphasis.
  • Real-World Learning: Incorporates experiential learning opportunities where students tackle real challenges faced by partner businesses, fostering practical application of entrepreneurial principles.

Learning Experience Approach:

  • Integrates a practicum or capstone experience where students work on real challenges brought by partner businesses, resembling an internship or consultancy.
  • Contrasts with traditional business school capstones, which often rely on simulation games and lack real-world applicability.
  • Provides students with opportunities to apply entrepreneurial thinking to real-world business problems, enhancing their problem-solving abilities.

AI’s can’t be entrepreneurs::

  • Professor Packard acknowledges AI’s inability to think entrepreneurially due to its reliance on historical data and lack of creativity.
  • Emphasizes the unique ability of humans to engage in counterfactual thinking and true entrepreneurial creativity.
  • Recognizes AI’s potential as a tool for prompting ideas but underscores the irreplaceable role of human creativity in entrepreneurship.

Impact on Hiring and Company Culture:

  • Highlights the difficulty companies face in identifying candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset and problem-solving skills.
  • Emphasizes the need for employees who can adapt to changing environments and proactively solve problems.
  • Discusses the potential for new hires with entrepreneurial mindsets to influence and improve company cultures, fostering adaptability and innovation.

Entrepreneurial Mindset Beyond Business School:

  • Recognizes the value of philosophical thinking in fostering open-mindedness and innovative insights.
  • Encourages individuals from diverse backgrounds to embrace entrepreneurship, emphasizing that anyone can develop entrepreneurial skills with the right mindset and learning.

Potential Impact Beyond Business Education:

  • Discusses the potential for entrepreneurial thinking to revolutionize industries beyond business, such as healthcare, through initiatives like direct primary care.
  • Highlights the relevance of subjectivist thinking and value creation principles in various fields, enabling individuals to identify innovative solutions to complex problems.
  • Foresees entrepreneurship as a driving force for positive change in all sectors, and at all scales and business stages, fueled by individuals equipped with entrepreneurial mindsets and skills.

Cultivating Entrepreneurial Thinking:

  • Encourages introspection to challenge existing assumptions and explore alternative approaches to problem-solving.
  • Advocates for learning from diverse perspectives and experiences to broaden one’s understanding and stimulate entrepreneurial thinking.
  • Stresses the importance of ongoing learning and experimentation in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and adapting to evolving challenges and opportunities.