Today’s economic landscape presents a unique challenge for those entering into the workforce, as many economies shift from a labor-based focus to one that’s knowledge- and innovation-based. Workers must continue to learn, adapt to changes, create opportunities, and, in some cases, build new organizations if they want to remain competitive. In fact, Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of US jobs could be automated within the next two decades. Given this rapid rate of change, how can students and younger workers position themselves for thriving careers 20, 25 years in the future?
Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia are teaming up to address the question. Together, they’re creating a series of online entrepreneurship and innovation modules that will encourage students, regardless of major, to “Differently Think.” Fox MC and Flinders believe that innovation-thinking will prepare people for the realities of the 21st century economy. Some students will take this thinking into established organizations, and others may use it to launch their own ventures, creating new job opportunities for themselves and others.
“We can’t train for specific jobs anymore,” said Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Managing Director of Fox MC. ”We have to train for competencies and agility because the jobs just aren’t going to be there.”
The initiative between Fox MC and Flinders is particularly beneficial to a city such as Adelaide, which represents the global shift away from a manufacturing-focused economy, and the need for increased entrepreneurship to help businesses become more nimble. Once a major hub of the auto industry, car makers have halted the assembly and building of cars in Adelaide. Moreover, the country’s economic growth is expected to be below the average rates of other first-world countries, and the changing business landscape is leaving a dramatic impression on the nation’s economy, according to the InDaily article, “SA’s economic outlook: flat but with a potential upside.”
“We are working to build a more agile, competitive and innovative economy, one that is going to assist our nation in addressing modern challenges so that Australians will be better off in a new economy with new jobs in the future,” Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
This new economy is already becoming a reality for young Australian graduates, around 70 percent of whom are starting their careers in roles that will substantially change or become obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years, according to the Foundation for Young Australians’ report “The New Work Order.”
For the past three years, Flinders University in Adelaide has been successfully addressing this reality through its New Venture Institute (NVI), which leverages university resources to support entrepreneurship and innovation in South Australia and for its 26,000 students. To-date, NVI has overseen more than 250 student projects, nearly 150 startups, trained close to 1,500 people, and generated more than $540,000 in investments.
The Fox MC-Flinders partnership builds on the success of both organizations’ efforts to support entrepreneurship. Fox MC’s expertise in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education has been widely recognized: The Online MBA program at the Fox School of Business is ranked no. 1 in the nation for the second consecutive year by US News & World Report, both the graduate and undergraduate Entrepreneurship programs at Fox are ranked among the top 10 by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, and Fox MC has provided consulting services to nearly 150 startups and early stage companies.
Through the partnership with Flinders, Fox will develop a series of 12 online education modules related to entrepreneurship and will provide training to Flinders faculty to deliver the course materials. The content will be available to all Flinders students, regardless of major or course of study, and will include videos, exercises and training manuals.
Students will have numerous opportunities to participate in innovation-related coursework at Flinders. They can major in a newly created degree—Bachelor of Business (Innovation and Enterprise)—embed innovation topics into their existing bachelor degrees, and opt to add a year-long stand-alone course to their undergraduate degrees, earning an additional Bachelor of Letters (Innovation and Enterprise).
As part of the partnership, Fox will also provide RoadmapTM, a proprietary, revolutionary higher-education platform that assembles all feedback and assessments to demonstrate personal development and return on investment to students. Through RoadmapTM, students will work with faculty and advisors to devise and manage their custom learning plans, review their progress during the program, and provide employers and interviewers with a visual representation of their skills and competencies.
“Fox MC and others at the Fox School of Business, including the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and faculty in the Strategic Management Department, have been studying and teaching entrepreneurship for quite some time. Fox is well-positioned to help Flinders cultivate a dynamic entrepreneurship program that prepares students for the future,” Hill said. “We’re in a special place because we have knowledge to share and are located in an area that also needs economic development, so there’s a natural meeting there.”
Philadelphia, like Adelaide, is struggling to be seen as an innovative place at the SME (small and medium enterprise) level, according to Hill, and the partnership with Flinders is an opportunity for Fox MC to learn from Adelaide’s entrepreneurship ecosystems and bring lessons back to Philadelphia.
“This is an opportunity for us to learn together how to do this globally,” Hill said. “There are lots of places around the world where this kind of collaboration could be applied. Together, we’ll get really good at this.”
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