These were the words of Maria von Euler in a recent interview. She is an industrial designer and guest lecturer at Konstfack – University of Arts, Crafts and Design on behalf of SSES (Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship), and also founder and Innovation Manager at Restauranglabbet, a platform for innovation in the food industry. She is also part of IVA Entrepreneurship Academy’s network of entrepreneurship educators.
von Euler says that programmes need to be designed a bit differently for art students. They, of course, need to learn the basics of enterprise, but they also need to change their mindset.
“Art students often look at entrepreneurship as something a bit foreign. There is widespread fear and scepticism about capitalising on their artistic expression,” says von Euler.
However, these same students often start a business after they graduate. Those studying for a career in design may find it easier to go down the employee route, but students who want to grow and develop their own artistic expression often decide to start their own business.
Focus on the purpose
By focusing on what they want to achieve and discussing how they can make it happen, it is easier to get art students to see entrepreneurship as a way of reaching their goals.
“This new approach isn’t needed for business students; they regard enterprise as a natural choice right from the start,” said von Euler.
Starting a business to drive change or transformation always requires creativity. It also leads to job opportunities and a chance to change the direction you want to go in.
Show that sustainable choices increase profitability
“Today’s students often have climate anxiety and focus a lot of their attention on sustainability. But sustainability is very complex; you can do the wrong thing if you don’t have your facts straight. To illustrate and explain complex contexts, we can use demonstrations in various fields,” said von Euler.
In food and value chains in food management for example, demonstrations can be set up to show how the food that tastes the best is also the best for the body, the planet – and for business. The cows feel good – as do humans – when fields and vegetables are farmed and grown organically. And companies can increase their profitability by making sustainable choices. Talking about financial gains is necessary to get things to happen.
“In addition to people, the planet and profit, we also need to take pleasure into account to make a real difference. Common sense is one thing, but the heart and the belly are important if we want to change behaviour,” said von Euler.
Co-creation is the key to successful entrepreneurship
Cooperation needs to be emphasised in all education programmes because the ability to work with others is a crucial success factor for startups.
“An important aspect of entrepreneurship – regardless of whether it’s in an art-related industry or another one – is to be able to see where you fit into your ecosystem. And it’s important to practice the ability to work with others across disciplines. That’s when innovation happens,” said von Euler.
IVA’s Entrepreneurship Academy is working to stimulate entrepreneurship in Sweden. This involves working with various actors, government agencies and organisations to explore what is needed for entrepreneurship to be a theme throughout the education system, supporting individuals and the development of society, business and industry.