Episode 147: Don Wettrick on How to Cultivate Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators

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In this episode, Don Wettrick shares his unique perspective on how we can build entrepreneurial mindsets in our kids, why that’s important and what he’s doing in his innovation class at Noblesville High School.

Guest Bio:

Don WettrickDon Wettrick is an Innovation Specialist at Noblesville High School, just outside Indianapolis, IN. He is the author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level”. Wettrick has worked as a middle school and high school teacher; educational and innovation consultant; and educational speaker. Don is passionate about helping students find their educational opportunities and providing them with the digital tools they need to give them a competitive edge.

Don has lectured across the US and Europe about collaboration, social media use, and work environments that enable innovation. He also hosts an internet radio program, InnovatED, for the BAM! Radio Network. Most importantly Don works with educators and students to bring innovation and collaborative skills into education.

(source: theinnovationteacher.com)

Show Notes:

(02:34) When you hear the word “successful” or “success,” who’s the first person or what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

(03:40) Don’s background

(07:59) The first thing that comes to mind is there’s a lot of bureaucracy in the traditional public school system. So you’re at Noblesville High School, you’re an Innovation Specialist. How did you think creatively to be able to get this off the ground? Why don’t you walk us through the process of how you made it happen?

(11:06) So it’s almost like the 20% time model, because it’s so proliferated, it’s almost a gateway drug into actually making it full-time curriculum for students.

We’re looking to what everybody else is doing. And we’re not allowing our kids to follow and blaze their own trail.

(14:47) The majority of average people, average performers, tend to avoid failure, avoid struggle, avoid adversity, because that’s what we’re taught.

(17:08) Diving into the research and work that you’ve done on entrepreneurship in schools, what have you learned so far that can start to be applied in schools? Or maybe in a smaller level, on the course level, what can be applied?

(23:32) We’re talking about one small skill that is fundamental in being an entrepreneur and driving towards innovation, and it’s just asking. And being okay with the failure of somebody not responding.

(25:43) Can you give us an example of a project or some projects that students were working on or have worked on that you’re proud of?

(30:20) In cultivating this entrepreneurial mindset and innovation mindset, you’re also cultivating scientists and engineers…  I’m sure you start to see that collaboration in the classroom as well.

(30:57) What do you do at home to cultivate a great learning environment?

(33:33) Do you think you can play the game and then also be an entrepreneurial in schools?

(36:00) Do you think that every kid or every person can and should be an entrepreneur or innovator? Why?  

(39:15) Are there any books that has most influenced you, and why?

(40:20) What about documentaries? Do you watch them? Do you have recommendations?

Dear Zachary

The King of Kong A Fistful of Quarters

(41:33) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?

Dave Grohl


Website: http://www.startedupinnovation.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/donwettrick
Youtube: NHS Innovation Class: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX9cTnoteMS0BX-qPbLTdtw
Email: don@startedupinnovation.com


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