In this paper we explore the ability of educational frameworks focused on developing the entrepreneurial mindset to be used to develop students’ abilities to approach convergent problems. While there is not a single widely accepted definition of convergence, there are some general aspects noted by the NSF including: socially relevant, multidisciplinary, complex, and not being adequately addressed by current methods and practices. Convergent problems require existing disciplines to collaborate to create new knowledge, skills, and approaches in order to be appropriately addressed. We believe that there are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and the learning of it that can support the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to approach convergent problems. This is relevant because most work on convergent problems happens at the graduate level and beyond and our interest is to create experiences for undergraduates that prepare them to embark on this work after graduation.
This study maps entrepreneurial mindset learning (EML) onto a framework based on prior work on convergence to identify the aspects of EML that directly support convergence work or preparation for convergence work. The existing dataset of KEEN cards is used as a proxy for existing work in this space, as well.
If existing work in EML can address some or all of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for convergent problem solving then engineering educators have a set of tools and practices that can contribute towards creating engineers who are better prepared to work on the hard problems of tomorrow.