We met Antoine Perruchoud in the “House of Entrepreneurship” in Sierre, Switzerland. Here was born the Swiss version of Team Academy, a totally innovative Bachelor curriculum, offered as part of the Business Administration programs at the University of Applied Sciences (HES-SO) in Valais.
Team Aacdemy was launched in 2017 and the first cohort has now entered its third and final year. There are currently three cohorts enrolled in the program, for a total of 50 students, aged 19 to 25.
In June 2019, we were invited to present our book, Edupreneurial Pivot, within the framework of the Beblio Conferences, initiated by the Team Academy students, as part as of their academic curriculum.
We went back to Sierre to have a full understanding of this completely innovative learning mode, as well as the disruption in the entrepreneurship teaching it entails, and met the initiator of Team Academy in Switzerland: Antoine Perruchoud, professor at the HES-SO Valais.
In the podcast on Team Academy, we are discussing the everyday operations of the program, the disruption it brings to the teaching of entrepreneurship, as well as the perspectives opened up by this new way of teaching in different fields of business administration.
How does Team Academy disrupt the teaching of business administration?
Do not be fooled by the very 20th century look of the Board Room of Technopole where we met Antoine Perruchoud. The Team Academy project has nothing to do with the industrial past of the building that was originally built to welcome workers of the Alusuisse factories.
Or maybe, yes. The Team Academy project has an ambition quite similar to that of the company that was at the origin of the economic development of the region : to open the doors of success to young people by offering them a training strongly focused on innovation, not only in terms of the content taught, but also in terms of how to learn.
Here everything indeed is innovative when it comes to conceive teaching in entrepreneurial mode!
At the beginning of the academic year, students are invited to create a Team Company of their choice, from which they will develop real projects for real clients. The learning of business administration happens on the field, on the go, by following the development stages of the entrepreneurial project on which the students work.
And this, by far, is not the only distinctive element of the Team Academy approach. Professors leave their habits aside to act as coaches, and thus be able to better support students. The latter are invited to participate in dialogue sessions to deepen the readings that are proposed to them, and to present the articles they must write in a flipped classroom perspective, but always in relation to their projects.
First and foremost, Antoine Perruchoud insists on the importance of skills-based assessment, which is the only form of assessment to effectively measure the progress of the students in this mode of training. It is not a theoretical understanding of business administration and entrepreneurship that is targeted by this mode of education. It is the in-depth acquisition of mindset and skills that the actual experience of the entrepreneurial activity sets in the learners.
An invitation to reflect on the classical models of education
Antoine Perruchoud explains that the program is very demanding. He believes that the specific nature of Team Academy attracts only 25% of the students interested in the study of business administration. The others, says Antoine Perruchoud, clearly prefer the “comfort” of traditional learning.
Antoine Perruchoud also underlines that collaborative work must be learned. If, for him, the form of the work environment matters, it is above all the ability to dialogue that is the basis of collective intelligence. However, the education system has lost sight of the importance of dialogue in the construction of knowledge.
Listening to Antoine Perruchoud, one realizes how much the pursuit of a professional goal, and not an academic qualification, changes and must change the perspective on the questions of learning.
The challenge of Team Academy : moving from knowledge transmission to the development of the learner!
In the second part of the interview, Antoine Perruchoud looks back on the path that led him to develop and launch Team Academy in Switzerland. Antoine Perruchoud first wants to make things very clear. He did not have the Team Academy vision on his own.
He was actually asked a disturbing question that made him understood the problem to solve: why do students have to wait until the end of their studies to start developing an entrepreneurial mindset?
This question led him to challenge the status quo and look beyond the satisfaction of the good results he was already achieving with classical education.
History of an edupreneurial journey
Returning to the path that led him to launch Team Academy, Antoine Perruchoud remembers that he always wanted to change the existing order.
A formula has changed everything for him: learning is becoming a better version of yourself. This sentence made him aware of the importance of taking an interest in the learner’s own person, and not just in his performance.
Antoine then looked for the best way to target the student’s personal development, emphasizing the entrepreneurial mindset, not the entrepreneurial career. In his research, he encountered the need to take into account the academic framework of the University of Applied Sciences, and to create the program on a very marked terrain.
The great entrepreneurial achievement of Antoine Perruchoud is to have managed to disrupt in the heart of a rigorously defined system. To make a difference, he was able to combine the curiosity that led him to the Team Academy model that he first went to observe in Finland, not only with the critical spirit that made him understand the limits of his approach, but also with the resilience to present dozens of versions of his project to the academic authority before launching such an innovative program.
The perspectives of the Team Academy model
At the heart of Antoine Perruchoud’s vision, we have heard the conviction that “more technology demands more humanity”. This humanity is translated into action by the form of entrepreneurial action, a form which, according to him, can be expressed in all fields.
With this conviction, Antoine Perruchoud plans to extend the Team Academy model to areas such as nursing, social work (where projects are already underway), computer management, engineering.
The idea even shows its nose in some Teacher Colleges. If the idea was to be realized there, it would be perfectly fit the spirit of Edupreneurial Pivot and the transformation of school organizations by the entrepreneurial mindset that we propose.
As we demonstrated in Edupreneurial Pivot, 21st century skills converge with the entrepreneurial mindset. It is thus by introducing teachers to the latter that we can increase their capacity to teach 21st century skills. The demonstration is crystal clear!
Antoine Perrouchoud adds to it by sharing the conviction that any teacher can enter a mindset of the Team Academy type, which is, expressed with other words, the fundamental message that we want to carry with Edupreneurial Pivot.
Hence, Team Academy and Edupreneurial Pivot are two different projects that work on the future of education and are based on the same assumptions: any teacher can transform his way of teaching, and adopt the right mindset to do so!
We warmly thank Antoine Perruchoud for his availability and collaboration! May the future of education be Edupreneurial!
To find out more about Team Academy: www.teamacademy.ch.