Bougainville Entrepreneur and Innovation Curriculum

  • 2023

  • Social Impact

Designed In:

Papua New Guinea

Using design thinking as an educative vehicle, the Entrepreneur design course is empowering the people of Bougainville to generate their own start up businesses shifting them from the informal to the formal business sectors. Additionally, the Innovation Design Course leads locals in growing their capacity of existing businesses to scale.

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  • With a 98% winning referendum vote, the people of Bougainville gained their independence from Papua New Guinea in 2019. Achieved in a post civil conflict environment, new challenges emerged towards building an economy that would inspire prosperity and drive growth. While presenting many complex and interconnected human centred challenges and relying on 98% of foreign aide to sustain their fragile economy, the focus shifted to stimulate the small to medium sized business development. An approach was required to rapidly engage local people in a self-sustaining pipeline of businesses evolving the traditional informal bartering system to a more formaisedl economy.

  • After spending time in Bougainville, it was clear that education providing genuine and authentic pathways could be the most impactful approach: The intention was to implement in two streams to accelerate economic growth: a) The Entrepreneur Design Curriculum: inspiring young people to enter the formal economy using design thinking to create their own start up businesses. b) The Innovation Design Curriculum that transitions current small and medium sized businesses into a scaling model focusing on local employment and international partners, including recruitment and mentoring a new generation of business owners that are able to import and export goods and services.

  • The "not by chance but by design" approach: a) Impact with people by inspiring the locals with a "what is possible" mindset that is reshaping their emotive capacity (eg: self esteem/confidence) leading them to the self-realisation that they can design their own business pathway. b) Impact on economic development seeing multiple businesses enter the market and others scale to employ more people. c) Impact on environmental friendly models including sustainable cocoa farming and fisheries practices. Ultimately, this educative intervention is driving social impact and authentic innovation to inspire generational change enabling Bougainvillian's to grow their country from the ground up.

  • An on the ground needs assessment included interviewing with Government and Non-Government sectors, current business operators and experiencing the narratives of unemployed local people to understand their motivations towards work with the goal of shifting mindsets, building skillsets and providing the toolsets required to empower local community members in designing and embedding a sustainable “start-up” business culture. Additionally, the course is assisting participants to learn to work within the early government practices, policies and systems being established for their economy. Incorporating a 'graduate profile' articulates the expected developmental outcomes of the course. This approach focusses on 3 core pillars for learning: an entrepreneurial mindset, skillset and toolset. The graduates will be expected to demonstrate these as part of their final assessment in creating their own individual business plan. At the conclusion of the course, participants are able to: • Articulate a vision and values proposition for a new business • Think creatively and critically towards emerging business opportunities • Apply basic financial and accounting knowledge, skills, and practices • Use basic marketing to promote business activities • Understand and can use government business processes • Collaborate with others effectively. To support this, physical Innovation Hubs are being built to enable the courses to be delivered.