There is often confusion around the term enterprise. It is sometimes used interchangeably with entrepreneurship and so has connotations of starting a business. But enterprise simply refers to the generation and application of ideas to address practical situations (QAA definitions).
Enterprise sits within the Engagement, Influence and Impact domain, however enterprise skills feature in all four sections of the RDF. Enterprise isn’t a stand-alone skill you can develop in isolation, it requires a whole host of competencies and attributes. In fact I have identified 38 descriptors within the RDF which relate to enterprise.
This is not bad news. It does not necessarily mean enterprise is a more difficult skill to develop. On the contrary it means that whilst developing your enterprise skills you are simultaneously acquiring many other abilities. It also means that you are already half-way there to becoming more enterprising…
…The good news – you are not starting at zero. The very act of deciding to undertake a postgraduate degree demonstrates enterprise skills and attributes such as having an inquiring mind, enthusiasm and perseverance. You have had to identify a gap or need or problem which you are addressing through your research, therefore you have generated an idea, spotted an opportunity and worked out a strategy to explore it. And your degree inherently requires you to develop your project management, critical thinking, argument construction, communication and presentation skills. So you can tick those off your list!
But why are enterprise skills important? No matter what career you have in mind, enterprise skills will make you more employable and better at your job. For a career in academia, enterprise skills will help you have impact with your research, win grant applications, partner with external stakeholders, engage the public and, will make you a better researcher and educator for future students. In industry, enterprise skills will make you a valuable intrapreneurial employee who can contribute to business growth through problem solving, horizon scanning, research and development and innovation.
So now you know the why, it’s time for the how! The Entrepreneurial Development Officer role, my role, within the Graduate School specifically provides enterprise skills development through a range of activities:
- If you need to develop a specific skill, check out the PG Skills workshops.
- For inspiration and first-hand accounts, come along to Innovative Researchers.
But the best way to really learn, is to try it out for yourself:
- Why not sign up for the U21 & PwC Innovation Challenge? Pitch your solution of how best to survive and thrive in a future world scenario. No need to be on campus – the competition and associated training will be delivered 100% online.
- If you fancy trying out consultancy for a local heritage organisation, look out for the Virtual Consultancy Challenge coming in spring term, another online programme.
- And of course, the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School will be back in all its glory in June and July.