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More on Instruction in Arts Entrepreneurship

My thoughts about how to teach, or approach the teaching of entrepreneurship in the arts is influenced by experiences I had on a commuter bus, back when I lived in North Haven, Connecticut.

For a period of around a year I commuted to downtown New Haven with 2 other people: one an internationally recognized expert on Shakespeare and the other an inventor of medical prosthetics. Our conversations were consistently engaging and intellectually stimulating. At the time my focus was the education of students talented in the arts, so it seemed that I provided the bridge between my commuter mates.

One day the inventor was jubilant. He and his team had just completed their work on a new invention, and they now had secured venture capital to move toward commercialization. We wanted to know the details of the process that brought him and his colleagues to this point.

He said that his team of 5 had spent an entire year defining and researching the problem they had identified. I remember him saying that during the year that most days were characterized by entering data on the computer. Then, after they believed that they had exhausted their research and data entry, they played. They cleared the room and played with objects, throwing them around, reconfiguring them, finding all sorts of alternative uses for them. They played for days, then all of a sudden they knew how to build their model, that as a group they simply knew when they had it.

Looking back now on this story, what I take from it follows.

Emerging arts entrepreneurs tend to quickly find the solution, then research it. This sets up all sorts of issues, like finding difficulty in accepting the realities of the research. Should we not craft curricular exercises that focus heavily on researching the identified general area of interest, then playing with concepts, then narrowing down to specific ideas?

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