An entrepreneurial mindset (EM) is a collection of mental habits that influence the way you think about the world and act upon what you see.
EM empowers you to question, adapt, and make positive change, leading you to:
While these abilities are important in many different fields, our focus is on engineers. The entrepreneurial mindset amplifies the work engineers already do, equipping them to solve societal problems and create an environment for human flourishing.
Think about a recent technical achievement. An engineer almost certainly contributed to it!
Engineers work with a wide range of businesses to deliver solutions at scale. They collaborate with chemists, doctors, and elected officials. They have the potential to make a positive impact on society and the world around them.
The entrepreneurial mindset consists of three key elements: Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value—the 3C’s. This emergent understanding came from years of work with KEEN faculty, students, and industry.
Entrepreneurially minded individuals:
Download and use the Framework - an adaptable guide that provides mindset and skillset learning outcomes for engineering students.
The Framework is used by thousands of faculty to create educational materials and teaching concepts that equip engineering students with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Unpack mindset and design with EM 90, EM 101, and EM 102!
Start exploring the entrepreneurial mindset with these resources shared by community members:
Entrepreneurially-minded engineers recognize problems as opportunities, assess the potential impact of solutions, and use their skills to create value for others. An entrepreneurial mindset can be related to entrepreneurship, but is not exclusive to new ventures.
Equally, institutions of higher learning are frequently hubs of innovation and value creation. The entrepreneurial engineering approach allows students to co-create with faculty members. Faculty in turn re-imagine courses, labs, and activities – and find greater fulfillment in the process. The entrepreneurial mindset allows institutions to be faithful to their original charter while preparing graduates for an ever-changing world.
Entrepreneurially minded learning does not sacrifice technical knowledge. Instead, it can be coupled with other pedagogical approaches to inspire shifts in mindset.
Entrepreneurial engineering emphasizes discovery, opportunity identification, and value creation. Graduates benefit from this approach. They are able to evaluate market needs, societal trends, and technical feasibility.
Risk and uncertainty are also part of entrepreneurial thinking. Your students will face personal risks, market risks, opportunity costs, demands from stakeholders; the list goes on. An entrepreneurial mindset can help them manage these risks and be comfortable with uncertainty.
Andrew Maynard, Director for the Risk Innovation Lab in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, examines the risks and benefits of emerging technologies. While such technologies could improve our lives, their very strangeness can also cause fear.
Companies who hire your graduates want them to be equipped with a broad set of skills—professional skills along with technical acumen.
Bob Baker, former Senior Vice President of Technology & Manufacturing at Intel, talks about why entrepreneurial mindset benefits engineers and the companies that employ them.
Teaching the entrepreneurial mindset will help your students work better within teams, communicate more effectively, listen to stakeholders, ask the right questions, and understand the needs of others.
Entrepreneurially minded learning helps students adapt and engage in a changing world of work. It gives them the “Why” to enhance the “How” in what they do.
The Engineering Unleashed community is invested in more than just teaching for what industry wants. The characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset provide a deeper sense of meaning for your students. They won’t just deliver a product. They’ll create value.