Now that I am a full time instructor and also a consultant, I am experiencing the benefits of using the classroom as a petri dish for concepts that can advance business in the boardroom. For example, I am now using a book called Business Model Generation with my Business Ownership students. Each of my students is designing their own business plan, using the Business Model Canvas, and I have to be flexible enough to coach each one of them in advancing their ideas. I then take what I have learned and bring it to my clients. No, I don't share the students' intellectual property, but rather, I am able to be apply the business development planning concepts we explored in class to the clients who are building their business in real-time.
I have put this experiment into reverse practice when using a facilitation format called a Fishbowl. This collaborative approach to idea generation and consensus building is a wonderful format for engaging diverse stakeholders. In the past couple of years I have facilitated fishbowls for private clients and gatherings of membership organizations. Last quarter I put it into practice in the classroom. We brought together two groups of students to discuss the role of social media in public relations and advertising. The students loved being able to share their ideas, be heard amongst their peers and to draw conclusions about their own habits and behaviors.
This back and forth between classroom and boardroom gets my facilitation juices flowing - from idea to practice and dream to reality.