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The Big Picture

People who are real problem solvers operate from a broad perspective. They think strategically. They are able to see the big picture but they are not overwhelmed by it, allowing them to make connections and develop inspired solutions that create value in new and meaningful ways.  Faculty members at Lafayette College developed the Meta Mindset to help teach this kind of thinking, initially with the generous support of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN).

Meta Mindset goes beyond teaching students specific tools, characteristics, and traits for a thinking some would call "entrepreneurial".  The Meta Mindset highlights the journey common to any challenging endeavor (entrepreneurial or otherwise) to create some new value.    The Mindset invites faculty to deliberately create opportunities for students to practice this journey, building skills for recognizing opportunities, managing risks, seeking effective collaborators, and understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic value of the journey.


Practicing this journey is scalable - from individual assignments, projects,  courses, and co-curricular opportunities to lifelong endeavors.  Continually practicing the journey empowers students to connect their personal development to a broad, entrepreneurial mindset.  These experiences encourage students to engage their curiosity, move beyond fear of failure, and create value from unexpected opportunities. The Meta Mindset offers a way for students to use each learning experience, no matter the scope or subject matter, to prepare for the larger challenges and opportunities they will face in their own lives by using each experience to refine their own abilities to face the unknown.


The Meta Mindset has value beyond students in the classroom.  It  has demonstrated value in helping  educators take risk in their teaching and mentoring.   It can be applied outside of academics to athletics, career development, and personal life challenges.  Its value is in making explicit the process we use to manage the journeys we choose and even the ones that are thrust upon us.   It also scales in scope.  It is equally applicable to an individual, a group, an organization, or even an institution.  


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