EMBA Programs Help Develop Mindsets that Inspire Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Nurturing your innovative and entrepreneurial abilities through key growth mindsets can strengthen personal performance and results—and EMBA Programs are a great proving ground for developing key growth mindsets.

Just ask Gigi Wang, who has lived an entrepreneur’s life and now shares her expertise in innovation with students and practitioners as an industry fellow and faculty member at the University of California-Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET).

Wang is chair and director of Berkeley’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and is also a managing partner at the consulting firm, MG-Team, LLC. Before starting MG-Team, Wang served in leadership roles at several tech startups. She was also an internet pioneer in the 90s, launching Pacific Internet in Singapore (IPO on NASDAQ) in 1999 and the internationally renowned TRUSTe Internet privacy program in 1996.

The Way You Think Impacts Performance

Positive mindsets and their corresponding positive behaviors encourage innovation, says Wang, who served as a plenary speaker at the October 2018 Executive MBA Council Conference in Madrid, Spain.

“If you have the right mindset, you will have good behavior,” she says. In turn good behavior leads to good performance.

Certain growth mindsets ultimately support success, even with a few failures along the way, says Wang. Certain mindsets help set the stage for enhanced performance and success, including:

  • Wide comfort zone
  • Trust
  • Ability to connect with others
  • Inductive learning that emphasizes learning by doing, experimentation, and reflection
  • Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Growth Mindsets Lead to Effective Actions

You may recognize positive actions and effective performance in people who embrace these key growth mindsets.

Performers with wide comfort zones can work more easily in different types of situations, says Wang. “They are willing to go out of their comfort zone and try new things.”

They are also willing to trust people and deal with the aftermath if someone proves untrustworthy. Even with some risk, the investment pays off. “If you don’t trust someone until you know them for a year, you just lost a year, so it’s important to start with trust.”

They are skilled at making connections, whether with people or resources, which help them grow and move forward.

They experiment, reflect, and use inductive learning—where they gain knowledge and wrestle with new ideas through their own discovery process. “Basically these are people who want to figure something out, people who want to go tackle something really hard and figure it out,” she says. Thomas Edison is one good example.

Performers also demonstrate strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence. They constantly seek to understand their strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to fill gaps, she says.

Programs like the Executive MBA Can Positively Impact Student Mindsets

Whether at Wang’s startup bootcamp or in her class, she teaches mindset through a decidedly hands-on approach that involves real-life experiences.

The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (BMOE) focuses on inductive learning, mindset and behaviors, frameworks and cases, and network and connections. The Berkeley Innovation Index identifies key behaviors of entrepreneurs and innovators and helps measure student progress during their time at camp or in class.

Not surprisingly, the index reinforces the growth mindset—measuring trust, resilience, listening skills, mental strength, collaboration, and resource awareness. Before-and-after surveys reveal positive changes in students’ mindsets.

“The really good thing this shows is in the course of one of these classes, we can actually affect students’ mindsets,” says Wang. “We can do programs that teach them to be more innovative, more entrepreneurial, and to be ready to deal with today’s society.”

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