Visualising "Entrepreneurship is a practice"
Updated: Jul 7
Vikas Kapil , Dave Jarman and I have been working on a series of animations to illustrate the threshold concepts of entrepreneurial thinking. Here's how we're envisaging "Entrepreneurship is a practice"
We're using the principle of "generalisation", an aspect of Variation Theory, where we learn about something by experiencing varied appearances of the same value.
See: Marton, F., Runesson, U., & Tsui, A. B. M. (2004). The space of learning. In F. Marton, A. B. M. Tsui, P. P. M. Chik, P. Y. Ko, & M. L. Lo (Eds.), Classroom discourse and the space of learning. Mahwah, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum.
We often generalise what we see in order to make sense of it. For example, all chefs can be categorised as chefs to a greater or lesser degree.
We can generalise in this way because if we look closely, we can see that a chef has some habits or recognisable ways in which they practise their profession, which enable us to categorise them as “chefs”, even though there may be considerable variation within the category.
But these habits and ways of behaving may be recognised out of their usual context too. So when we consider “being a chef” as a practice, the context becomes less relevant. We can recognise chef-like ways of behaving outside the context of food preparation.
The film starts with a generalised view of three different coloured chef’s hats.
The first chef is particularly ‘chef-like’ with how they practise their trade. Their kitchen is organised in the most efficient manner, their knives are sharp, and their food is perfectly seasoned and their desserts are beautifully decorated.
The second chef appears in a domestic kitchen. The tools they use here might not be as sophisticated as the ones that are used in their professional kitchen, but nevertheless, they keep their kitchen tidy, their knives are sharp, their food perfectly seasoned and their cakes beautifully decorated.
But the third chef enjoys gardening as well. They behave in a chef-like way outside of their kitchen too. They organise their gardening tools. Their secateurs are sharp, their potting compost is perfectly blended and their lawn beautifully mown.
‘Being chef-like’ can be considered a practice and not purely an occupation or professional identity.
In the same way, when a person displays ‘entrepreneur-like’ ways of thinking and practising in contexts other than that of starting a business, we can see that entrepreneurship can be understood as a practice and not a badge, an occupation or professional identity.