Every startup needs three kinds of people: hipsters, hackers and hustlers. While I can’t take credit for this insight (a former student and current entrepreneur told it to me), I completely agree. Hackers are the folks who can code, or more generally, the folks who can create a product (the engineers and scientists). Hipsters are the folks who understand user experience and user design (the artists and humanities folks). And hustlers are the business people.
One of the problems with entrepreneurship education is that it is mostly taught in business schools. I teach entrepreneurship classes in a business school. While most of my students are business students (i.e., hustlers), I have seen firsthand how much more creative and innovative the businesses are when you add even a few hackers or hipsters into the classroom.
If the goal is to help students create new businesses, we are doing them a disservice by offering entrepreneurship to just the hustlers. The New York Times recently published a story that discussed the importance of teaching engineers to be artists, and highlighted a number of schools that are incorporating art into the STEM curriculum.
Stanford – arguably the most successful institution in terms of creating new and innovative companies – understands this and has for years. Their engineering school has a strong focus on entrepreneurship. (Their business school jumped on the entrepreneurship wagon much later.) They also offer courses in design. Put another way, they are breaking down the silos that typically exist between the various disciplines at a university to bring together hackers, hipsters and hustlers.
It’s time the rest of us followed their lead.
This post was authored by Dr. Atul Teckchandani.