By Anniken Sanna
COVID-19 has changed our everyday life and many people are now living in the uncertainty of what is going to happen with their businesses and work life in the next couple of months. Iselin Kristine Mauseth Steira thinks that innovation and entrepreneurship is extra important in times like these.
Steira is a Ph.D. student at Engage based at Nord University. Her thesis is about students in new venture teams. She has also developed a new elective course for the master students at Nord University Business School, which is called “Teamwork in Practice”. In addition, she is involved in a research project with Engage colleagues Karin Wigger and Kari Djupdal, where they are writing an article about how entrepreneurship education develops students´ entrepreneurial mindset.
Innovation creates new solutions for existing problems
Steira believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are important as it exists both inside and outside of existing companies and can be driven from single individuals to start-up teams or big corporations. It exists in many different forms and at different levels. From her economical perspective, entrepreneurship and innovation are important as it creates new jobs, new industries, competition in the market and new solutions for existing problems. In her view, there are many reasons why innovation and entrepreneurship are important to care about.
Suddenly when forced, we all think and act entrepreneurially
– Especially, If we look at what is happening around the world these days with the disruptions from COVID-19. We are facing an extreme situation that has caused a lot of uncertainty for many of us. As individuals, we needed to adapt to keep up with our everyday life tasks. It has made us all think and act in new ways, we have been pushed to be creative when sorting out new ways of collaborating with colleagues and how to teach our students online. Businesses all over Norway are moving their services online and are developing new business models to earn money. Suddenly when forced, we all think and act entrepreneurially. It will be very interesting to see the impact on society when we go back to normal, and if some of these new ways of doing will remain. In the upcoming years, I think we will see a lot of new businesses and innovations spur as an aftermath of what we now are experiencing, Steira says.
Works to promote entrepreneurship in different ways
Since Steira both works as an educator and a researcher, she explains that she feels like she is promoting entrepreneurship in different ways. As a Ph.D. student at Engage, entrepreneurship education is the overall umbrella for her thesis.
– As a researcher, I am interested in understanding how entrepreneurship education can stimulate all kinds of entrepreneurial activities, but mainly venture creation. With my thesis, I am researching the process of how student teams create new ventures, and how educational programs can facilitate good team formation and development processes for students.
But as an educator, she approaches the field a little bit differently. Here she believes that it is important to apply different entrepreneurial tools and methods to stimulate her students to create new and innovative solutions to economic, social and environmental problems.
– As it is difficult to know what the future holds, and the younger generations will face challenges that require them to act and think in new ways. Encouraging the students to practice how to work to come up with new solutions and think creatively through education is necessary to master it and become a change agent. Applying entrepreneurial methods is something that should be implemented in all different educations at all levels.