Innovations are impossible without new knowledge. Education is the path to innovations. However, education may be fruitless, if it is not embodied in practice and if knowledge does not convert into the skills.
What shall be done to make education deliver tangible results to business? How to differentiate between good and bad teacher? What to learn so that the robots could not make you job-seeker?
These issues were discussed by members of Panel Discussion “Education for business: necessity or widespread trend?” that was held as a part of Business, Innovations, Education – 2018 Thematic Conference held by Innovation House.
In this article we have put together all key discussion theses.
“The word is rapidly changing. It is not helpful to suggest that your education will be finished immediately upon graduation from higher education establishment,” – Evelina Khmelevskaya, co-founder at Higher School of Communications, said.
According to her, we will have to study lifelong. Next generation of young entrepreneurs will be forced to make several big career changes.
“Are there anyone, who has already significantly changed the scope of activities?” – event moderator, adviser, and teacher Anton Volnyanskyy addressed to the audience. To everyone’s surprise, nearly 15% of those present has raised their hands. “So, it turns out that we are talking about ourselves, rather than about the next generation,” – summarized he.
From education to learning
Currently, learnability is becoming one of the most important skills for business. Mihail Krikunov, PhD, Associate Professor, marketer, dean at Kiev Business School believes that we shall learn from the mistakes of the past.
He draws a huge distinction between education, comprising of academic or non-academic, higher education establishments, school and learning. According to him, the letter is exactly what business needs. After all, business needs no “piece of paper” or diploma. It needs specific skills able to accomplish business tasks.
Nowadays, nano-degrees trend is rapidly gaining popularity around the globe. In other words, not just degrees or micro-degrees, but nano-degrees. According to Mihail Krikunov, business started accepting paper certificates on completion of various trainings, like Coursera, as a proof of competencies that are so needed for the business and that cannot be mastered in major schools and universities.
Knowledge shall be convertible to skills
Any knowledge shall be convertible to skills and shall be applied in practice. Education for the sake of education makes no sense, Anton Volnyanskyy said. It is important for the company to train its employees and to set some goals for everyone: what is the purpose of this education, what is to be changed afterwards.
“The role of the teacher shall also be changed: he shall bring together the customer, consumer of educational service, with those who might be interested in it,” – Artem Kornetskyy, co-founder at School of ME, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and business adviser, said. He is using this very approach while teaching his students. “I bring them in contact with business owners, who set some task and students start dealing with it,” – he said.
Mr. Kornetskyy admits that this is not the most qualified consulting, but it is free of charge for business. Students, in turn, get some real experience, teachers – feedback from business: whether the student has succeeded with his task and whether this was useful. Sometimes, upon completion of this on-the-job training, companies employ students.
“Education and business shall move towards each other. But what we actually have in Ukraine in this regard is a significant gap,” – declared he.
How to distinguish a decent teacher from a crook
It is of critical importance to choose proper teacher or business school. Evelina Khmelevskaya, told that teachers working at Higher School of Communications are people from business spheres and practitioners.
“We rather skeptically treat our coaches – those, who are practically engaged in what they are telling about. All our invitees are practitioners,” – she told. Moreover, we choose those, who are good at sharing own knowledge.
“If I want to study something new in the field that is a total blind spot for me, then there is a high chance that I will find a bad teacher,” – said Alla Oliinyk, partner at BORSCH Ventures venture capital fund, Coordinator at Innovation Development Council under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. To make sure that this does not happen, she advises to explore the publicly available information of your interest first. When this is done, recommendations received from key persons of this field will help you to find an expert having unique knowledge and considerable experience that are needed for you.
According to Mihail Krikunov, prior to choosing a business coach or a teacher, it would be better for you to meet him and to inquire of his behavior. “It is desirable, however, to visit event hosted by him. And then turn on your mind,” – he said.
Attention to allied areas
It is of prime importance for any expert, even if he works in a very narrow area of practice, to apply the skills from allied areas. Marketing in HR, PR in HR, for instance, to be interested in worldwide trends. This boosts the efficiency and accelerates the processes, Evelina Khmelevskaya believes.
The most reasonable educational means for the executives of major companies may be the information exchange with employees in charge of particular directions. Such a position was expressed by Igor Yankovsky, patron, businessman, and Innovation House founder. However, the emphasis should be placed on the heart of the problems that are of concern to the employees. One shall figure out why some things work out and some things don’t. This is also study mode.
Healthcare is one of the fields invested by Mr. Yankovsky. He used the example of his own company to explain how education is linked with innovations.
“I have a clinic in one of the countries, and 17 out of 100 best doctors of the county are employed there. At regular intervals, twice a year, they attend training courses. This is because equipment and methodologies are constantly changing,” – he said.
A set of self-development tools
Furthermore, Alla Oliinyk has told about a set of self-learning tools. English language proficiency was put in the first place. According to her, this enables us to read foreign media and therefore – to get a more comprehensive picture of the world. Blockchain, ICO, artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality – there is growing interest in these topics and they have extensive world press coverage.
Yet another tool is a competition. Namely participation in international programs that make you compete with other people like you at the global level. “Sometimes, even when you fill the application form for the participation in some program, you have to find answers to the questions that have never been raised to you before,” – she said.
Mailing is also a good tool. In particular, mailing from World Economic Forum, where you can find key people from various industries. Ms. Oliinyk also speak favorably of mailing from Singularity University, mailings from accelerators.
“The only person, who knows more than you, is the one who did more than you do. Therefore, communication and attention to such entrepreneurs is yet one tool,” – Alla Oliinyk added.
The discussion about education has smoothly transferred to conversation about the search for the new points of business.
“I am confident that social entrepreneurship is the business of the future. Why? Because this is the point of intersection between business, civil society, and the state. Social enterprises that also exist in Ukraine are partially acting as the state. They tackle the problems, create communities, and civilian groups. But in so doing, they remain to be business able to generate profits,” – Artem Kornetskyy said. According to him, nearly 150 such social enterprises voluntarily gave information about themselves to the Social Entrepreneurship in Ukraine Catalogue that was compiled by the workfellows of Mr. Kornetskyy. In sober fact, there is a much greater number of such businesses in Ukraine.
For example, Teple Misto Civic Initiatives Platform in Ivano-Frankivsk city. It has launched Ukraine’s first social cafe Urban Space 100 that spends part its profits on implementation of social projects. Urban Space 500 is currently opening in Kyiv city. Moreover, there is Laska Shop in the capital of Ukraine. It is business that performs a social role – part of the proceeds from the sales is transferred to charity and social projects.
Volodymyr Chepovyi, co-owner at Business Journal and co-investor at Ukrainian Business Hub project, confirms that business is in the search of new meanings. “The good news is that you will not be replaced by robots in the near future, because so far they are unable to be creative. The bad news is that even we, who may be creative, do not do this and only make money. But there shall be some point in doing business,” – he told.
Therefore, impact investment trend – investment in projects that do not generate much income, but help to change the world for the better – is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. “Impact investment is actually the global trend. There are funds that do nothing but investments of such a type,” – businessman Igor Yankovsky told. According to him, such projects generate only 3-4% of profits. However, the global impact investment market is estimated at $5-7 trillion a year. “This is a good market,” – added he. Mr. Yankovsky recalls that there are many companies, whose shares rise from year to year but do not make any profit at all. “And we keep on purchasing these shares, we believe in Elon Musk, because he is a good speaker and makes well-substantiated presentations. The same situation is with the social entrepreneurship. So why not? Why not to invest if this changes the word around us, human behavior, ecology, many other things and builds a better world,” – Igor Yankovsky said. According to him, listing of NGOs on stock exchanges is one of the perspectives that are currently being discussed at the global level.