General Card #679
Meta Mindset, A Transformative Approach to Education
Each encounter with the process, no matter the context, reinforces it.
Lafayette’s Meta Mindset provides a graphical construct and heuristic model for the process of entrepreneurial thinking. The Mindset highlights the (often lonely and even frightening) journey common to all entrepreneurial endeavors to create new social or commercial value. This journey is fueled by curiosity, is always iterative, requires management of a wide range of risks, encourages collaboration, and is never a “sure win.” Lafayette’s Meta Mindset invites faculty to deliberately create opportunities for students to practice this journey: building skills to recognize opportunities, managing risks, seeking effective collaborators, and understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic value of thinking like an entrepreneur.
Practicing the entrepreneurial journey is scalable - from individual assignments, projects, and courses to lifelong endeavors. Continually practicing the journey empowers students to connect their personal development to a broad, entrepreneurial mindset. These experiences encourage students to engage their curiosity, move beyond fear of failure, and create value from unexpected opportunities. Meta Mindset offers a way for students to use each learning experience, no matter the scale, scope or subject matter, to prepare for larger challenges and opportunities they will face in their own lives by using each experience to refine their own abilities to think entrepreneurially.
What does the journey look like?
The Meta Mindset begins with an inspiration - the belief that something is possible, despite having not been previously achieved. Certainly, a person who is inspired to try to create something new has to consider the limits of their understanding of the challenge. To transform an inspiration into value creation, a disciplined process is necessary with the intent of discovery and taking deliberate risks. Creativity, collaboration, and a range of skills are critical in developing solutions and overcoming challenges in the creative process. The Meta Mindset contextualizes how these elements interact and shows that value creation is not just measured extrinsically, but also intrinsically. The concept of intrinsic value in the absence of extrinsic value is well appreciated by creative individuals who recognize the benefit of learning from failure.
The mindset highlights any entrepreneurial process - from developing new ideas for strengthening society to product innovation. The Mindset is equally applicable to an individual as it is to a complex organization - from a local non-profit to a multi-national corporation. Indeed, some organizations and corporations are known for their innovation. The disposition, behaviors, and motivation of these organizations may well be represented by the approach depicted by Meta Mindset where curiosity is the fuel that ultimately delivers value.
What we are excited about at Lafayette
The Meta Mindset has the potential to change the way both students and faculty members view education. Imbuing this kind of mindset cannot be achieved by simply describing the process in a classroom. An “immersion” is necessary for students to experience the journey alongside their professors and the College at large. Each encounter with the journey, no matter the context, reinforces the applicability of the process and has intrinsic value that becomes, simply, how we approach our lives.