Creating value through the SDGs

At the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society, we recognise the powerful value creation opportunities of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), committed to facilitating their achievement. This week I had the good fortune to lead an educator-centric multi-country webinar tying together the themes of change agency, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Contributing to the Erasmus+ funded EntreCompEdu café webinar series, I detailed the why, the how, and the what next, for ‘Creating value through the SDGs’.

Important when embracing or sharing any journey with others, I was open to my motivations and goals. I disclosed some of the drivers behind my passion. An extract from Carl Sagans ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ and my work as an Edu-pirate and co-founder of the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society.

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves” – Carl Sagans

As educators, particularly, if not parents and citizens, we have a responsibility to provide learning contexts that are stimulating and rich enough to answer to the needs of all types of learners, preparing them for a variety of life and work challenge. We can further aspire to ensure skills developed will positively contribute to the wider social or civic responsibilities of different value creators in society; contributing to innovation and economic growth and job creation, and also cultural, social and environmental value. It is not exaggerative to say the learning experiences we plan for and facilitate in our classrooms, virtually or otherwise, will shape minds and actions, and thus help steer the destinies of actors in our global system.

I spent some time sharing how entrepreneurial value creators are uniquely poised to support the SDGs, while the topic of sustainability provides limitless opportunities for value creation for learners. The SDGs provide the ideal canvass to inspire creativity, problem-solving, and action– and encourage teaching practices that facilitate students to be more creative and ambitious in the ways they look at the world and approach problems from many contexts – all key to survival in a VUCA world.

But we need to think BIG, be ambitious– and move on from being well-intentioned sustainability talking shops. Whilst appropriate foundation work, our goal must now be to encourage our learners to take action – have impact. We want our learners to be self-motivated in embracing the challenges laid down by the SDGs and their associated ‘wicked’ problems; to be skilled to identify and deliver upon the value creation opportunities. That it be now, that we conjoin as educators to overcome the barriers we may face, policy, institutional or other, that may prevent us from upping the ante on facilitating the rich experiential, collaborative, multi-stakeholder and reflective learning environments that will support our learners in becoming self-sufficient in mapping their own creative links and opportunities. People unafraid to take risks, who risk failure, and take their ideas through to implementation. The SDGs must not become a tick box framework for the classroom.

I took the opportunity to share the work of the Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society, and showcase one of our case studies: Sanergy. A powerful example of a systems thinking approach to value creation through harmonious entrepreneurship that was born in the classroom! MBA students responding to the challenge set up and supported by educators to find a solution to a problem facing 1 billion or more poor people globally.

Our end mission as educators should be to shape our 21century education system as fit for purpose, facilitating the development of self-motivating, self-sustaining value creators, with the adaptive capacity to deal with any of society’s challenges, ‘wicked’ or otherwise, irrespective of life pathway or career choice.

Thank you to EntreCompEdu for having me.


EntreCompEdu :

Sagans, C. (1994). Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, New York: Random House.

© Felicity Healey-Benson and (2021). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Felicity Healey-Benson and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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