Character and Excellence

10 June 2013

It has been a unique and almost stark turnaround between the study of creativity and innovation as a backpacker around Europe and now as a student at Oxford. As I was experiencing many different European cities, my understanding of creativity blossomed as I saw ancient instances of it in the architecture, language, and culture. As I came to Oxford, my experiences have transformed from creativity based to an intellectual dissection of innovation. In the past 24 hours I have learned more about the meaning behind “social” in business and some of the most “mind-blowing” approaches to successful business practices. Men such as Clayton Christensen, Dr. Robinson, and Dr. Hoffmire have made my experience at Oxford one that has increased by capacity for learning and growth and ultimately changed my outlook on business.


Typical Day at Oxford…

Day 1 Schedule:
9:00-10:00 Into to Seminar
10:00-11:00 Overview of Social Entrepreneurship (John Hoffmire)
11:00-12:15 Overview of Social Finance (JH)
12:15-1:30 Why Are We Here?( Professor Robinson)
1:30-2:15 Lunch
2:15-3:15 Case Study in Social Finance (JH)
3:15-4:45 Walking Tour: Christ church College
5:15-6:45 Clarendon Lectures (Clayton Christensen)
7:30-9:30 Lecture: Space or Heaven? C.S. Lewis, Narnia, and the Planets (Dr. M Ward)


Oxford has some of the best libraries I have ever been in!

Dr. Hoffmire is an incredible man. He is the main man behind our studies here at the Oxford Said Business School. As we learn about social innovation, I have had the opportunity to contemplate on many things I have never thought of before. He pointed out that all aspects of business are social, and we don’t want to be antisocial, right? Social entrepreneurship, social finance, social investing, etc… all are disciplines of business that strive to fix problems a society faces.

A lack of financial knowledge is one of the main reasons that holds back growth, growth not only in business but individually and in families. Financial stress is not fun, and often in is not fair. If we can educate populations of people in financial literacy, we can begin to solve many other problems that come along with it, like the break-up of families. The break-up of families is leading our world into a downhill spiral of devastation and disaster. Poverty is becoming more and more prevalent in society. There is no replacement for families in fighting poverty.


Each of the colleges at Oxford are so unique and beautiful…

Dr. Robinson will be speaking to us everyday on the philosophy behind business related characteristics, such as excellence, virtue, and desire. Our lecture today was an interesting and invigorating topic on why we have crossed an ocean and gathered at Oxford to learn for two weeks.
Why are we here? Why are we in this hallowed place? I am here to learn as much as I can about innovation and meet other people who share my same passion for it. I hope to discover within myself the ability to communicate with others and the focus needed to make a change in the world. While I am here I hope to strengthen my character into one that is understanding, open, and creative yet structured with high standards and morals. Character is destiny. Character builds leaders. You cannot have leaders without followers. Nothing matters more than character.

It was quite exciting to have Dr. Clayton Christensen speak to us out first day of Oxford. His lecture was entitled A Theory of Economic Growth, and he talked about how to transform disruptive innovations from complicated, expensive products into simpler and more affordable ones available to a larger population. This will give people access to things that previously were not possible.

We got to go into Christ Church College. Here is the Great Hall where Harry Potter was filmed!

Here are a few lines of insight that Dr. Christensen shared with us. Capital has character and a personality. Keep investing in Efficiency Innovations and invest over and over.

His lecture was definitely the highlight of the day. Dr. Christensen is a walking miracle and I believe he is meant to be here to teach people to be successful, honest, virtuous business people. Just as he says, one of the greatest ways to serve is to be a great business person.



Here are more from the Harry Potter Great Hall.

Dr. Ward gave a great lecture entitled Space or Heaven in C.S. Lewis’s Life.
I read all 7 of his Chronicles of Narnia books; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. C.S. Lewis was a religious man and each of his books have a tie to the importance of God and his protection and love of us. It was not a coincidence either, that his series consisted of 7 books, 7 being the perfect number. The books align with the days of the week, the planets in our universe, and the event of the 7 day creation. I love C.S. Lewis’s desire to share God’s love for all through his series of books. It is true, you go back and back to your favorite stories just like your favorite places.

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