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Three Steps Junior Enterprise & Big Beacon Can Take Together to Transform Education, Everywhere, Right Now

I just spent a beautiful day with hundreds of amazing Junior Enterprise students at the 2012 Junior Enterprise World Congress (JEWC2012) in Paraty, Brazil south of Rio de Janeiro.  I was privileged to be able to give two talks at the conference, and you can see the powerpoint deck of the shorter of the two presentations, Three Steps Junior Enterprise & Big Beacon Can Take Together to Transform Education, Everywhere, Right Now, in the viewer below:

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In the talk, I proposed that Junior Enterprise and Big Beacon work together to transform education everywhere for everyone using principals that we share in common.  Read the abstract below:

Since its inception in 1967, Junior Enterprise has become an increasingly powerful force for students taking their educations into their own hands by learning how to carry their disciplinary knowledge into practice through the running of practical consulting firms and enterprises.  Last year, the Big Beacon was conceived as a global social movement for the transformation of (engineering) education, and although it is too early to tell, the opening awareness phases of the Big Beacon story are attracting worldwide attention.  This short, TED-like talk suggests a collaboration between Junior Enterprise and Big Beacon to rock the world of education everywhere, a collaboration that takes the traditional strengths of hardworking Junior Enterprise students and enterprises and combines them with the intensity and effectiveness of a global social movement.

In particular, the talk begins with the speaker’s recent first-hand experience with Junior Enterprise students at a engineering education change initiative at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  It continues with a brief description of the Big Beacon movement (, and then suggests 3 joint steps Big Beacon and Junior Enterprise can take together, steps labeled as around, inward, and inside to transform education everywhere right now.

In particular, the move around combines the workings of the Junior Enterprise tried and true model with Big Beacon’s global reach and focus on engineering (intially) education to carry the JE model to the four corners of the earth.  This should help build more awareness in North America, beyond Brazil in South America, and make a stronger JE move toward Asia.

The move inward proposes the establishment of Junior Enterprise chapters in extant Junior Enterprise schools for educational and pedagogical consultancy.  In this way, the traditional Junior Enterprise model would be turned directly at educational institutions thereby allowing schools to hire students to help effect change at their schools.  With a motivated pool of creative and intelligent managers and workers available to augment existing administration and faculty reform efforts, we should expect both accelerated and more relevant reform than is currently being implemented.

The final move would be a move inside to help create a new kind of student-centered, practically oriented education consistent with traditional Junior Enterprise chapters and values.  With Junior Enterprise Pedagogy (JEP) firmly in place, reform efforts can then become more systemic, emotional, and cultural, and less curriculum and content focused, thereby bringing about real, sustainable change inside the schools themselves.

The talk concludes by suggesting a number of simple steps Junior Enterprise members can take as individuals back in their home schools to explore these possibilities.

Read the Big Beacon manifesto here, read more about Junior Enterprise here, and read more about JEWC2012 here.

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