Thinking and doing

One of the central tenets of our Center for Entrepreneurship's programs is that bringing ideas to reality and to the broader market is about effectively combining thinking with doing. Joseph Schumpeter said it well:

To undertake such new things is difficult and constitutes a distinct economic function, first, because they lie outside the routine tasks which everybody understands and secondly, because the environment resists in many ways… This function does not essentially consist in either inventing anything or otherwise creating the conditions which the enterprise exploits. It consists in getting things done [italics added].

Obviously, there is a great deal of "thinking" involved with getting things done, but none of it counts for much without the "doing." Perhaps more importantly, it's not about how well you think before you do but rather how well you integrate the two very different activities so that they support and build on each other. A longer post on this is overdue, but suffice to say there is a need in higher education—and the MBA in particular—for a new focus on "getting things done."

Rick Reis's Tomorrow's Professor email newsletter shared this quote from, and link to, a very apropos essay on the need
for college education to embrace the art and science of doing—not just

"Analytical thinking is an incomplete educational agenda in part because it disconnects rationality from purpose, and academic understanding from practical understanding or judgment. In order to prepare for decision and action in the world, students need to develop not only facility with concepts and critical analysis but also judgment about real situations in all their particularity, ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity. They need to develop practical reasoning."

The essay appears in this month's Carnegie Perspectives, by Senior Scholars Anne Colby and William M. Sullivan write and is adapted from an article with the same title that appeared in the winter 2009 issue of Liberal Education, published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Both come from the Carnegie/Jossey-Bass book, A New Agenda for Higher Education: Shaping a Life of the Mind for Practice.

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