Episode #365: Entrepreneurship in Schools with Don Wettrick

Don Wettrick is the President and Founder of StartedUP, an organization dedicated to help transform the school culture toward innovation and enable student-led entrepreneurship.

He’s also Innovation Coordinator at Noblesville High School, and 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; CEO, and podcast host.

Don has lectured across the US, Europe, South America and Africa about collaboration, social media use, and work environments that enable innovation. Through his travel, he has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to Ghana, and seeks to bring that entrepreneurial mindset into our classrooms. His podcast, StartEdUp, has featured some of the most successful entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders in the world- focusing on educational change.

Given my work with the Lemonade Stand program, I really enjoyed my conversation with Don, as we riffed on all things student entrepreneurship.

We covered myriad topics, including:

  • The difference between teaching entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking
  • Why the current tendency to play the victim card instead of take ownership is limiting the potential of today’s students and their contributions to the world; and
  • Where today’s K12 school system falls short, and how to plug these gaps

This only scratches the surface of what was discussed, so sit back, and enjoy my conversation with the one and only, Don Wettrick.

Topics Discussed:

  • Don’s mission
  • Today’s jobs that didn’t exist 20 years ago
  • The hedgehog theory
  • Skills v attitude
  • Conflicts of interest in the school system, often between parents and their children’s interests
  • Open-source learning in the K12 classroom
  • Creative ways to work within the constraints your current budget and system
  • Collaborating with experts and mentors to augment the K12 learning experience
  • Is STEM overrated?
  • Can teachers only teach children to become teachers?
  • Developing emotional fortitude and moving kids away from entitlement
  • The school system often prepares kids to be compliant and execute set procedure, but not to challenge the status quo and adapt to changes
  • Trojan Horse thinking
  • Always be testing
  • Create value for others first if you want to create value for yourself
  • Strong opinions, weakly held
  • The folly of standardized testing
  • Why giving our youth comfortable upbringings can be their undoing in adult life

Show notes:

  1. StartEdUp: www.startedupinnovation.com
  2. StartEdUp Foundation: https://startedupfoundation.org/
  3. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donwettrick
  4. Don’s book, Pure Genius: https://amzn.to/2BjSMQB


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