Back in February I signed up to a free on-line course through the Open University’s FutureLearn programme. It was called ‘The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen’ and once I’d signed up I then promptly forgot about it. But when looking at my emails on 30th March it was a pleasure to see a email welcoming me to the four week course and I immediately got very excited and started planning when I might grab the 3 hours I week it suggested I needed for the course.
The purpose of the course is to encourage people to think about entrepreneurship, what skills, attitudes and behaviours make people entrepreneurs, but also give participants an opportunity to share their own ideas, get feedback on them and use the ‘Enterprise Shed’ environment to stimulate their idea onto the next level of making them happen. It’s being run by Newcastle University, under the FutureLearn umbrella, and the structure of the course and its content is incredible, especially for a free course.
So far I’ve got just over halfway through (I’m a bit behind due to Tigger-duty and other commitments) and have found it both hugely inspiring and useful. As I’ve written about before I’m trying to consider all options for returning to some sort of work now that I have Tigger, and one of those is potentially as a home crafter. Using the Enterprise Shed I’ve been able to float my first product idea and I’ve received really great feedback on it from a range of people that otherwise I might not have approached. What is also great about the course, so far, is how it has got me to self-reflect on my own skills/attitudes/behaviours without turning the spotlight on me in an intimidating way. By being given the opportunity to feedback on the ideas of others I feel I’ve been able to help them with my own perspective while at the same time understanding what that perspective is, And it is this spirit of collaboration – not being afraid to share ideas as someone out there might help you towards that breakthrough moment – that is one of the best lessons so far from the Shed.
It is truly an inspiring Shed to be a part of, with ideas ranging from small product ideas to large ones, social enterprises and community projects. The Shed has clearly demonstrated that entrepreneurship is far from being solely the realm of candidates for The Apprentice – you will walk past tens of people each day who could be entrepreneurs in their own way and it feels fantastic to be a part of it.