Today, arguably more than ever, there is a lot of focus on novel ideas to feed start-up fast growth aims. All of this stimulates a stronger focus on effective entrepreneurship development. Increasingly, within our fast changing complex society, an entrepreneurial mindset, even an Entrepreneurial Society, is considered essential for people owning their company or working in one.
This article from the Harvard Business Review Blog states, arguably, on why there are still actual fundamental mismatches within the current societal and regulatory framework of rules and norms vs what is concretely needed for actual progress driven by widespread entrepreneurship.
Multiple ventures entrepreneur Richard Branson and one of its maxims
In my opinion an Entrepreneurial Society, if we define it as a society in which any individual can take initiative to develop ideas in business for his/her own and a great social good, needs to be conceptually separated from the one relevant the the Financial Capitalism Society in which the idea is essentially developed ‘to make money out of money’ and basically unavoidably this has little to do with stimulating a concrete and innovative entrepreneurial spirit that nowadays is needed more than ever to improve many aspects of social and economic life by now widespread in similar fashions across the world.
The report relevant to the 2015 Global Index Innovation has been recently published and, as always, it is quite revealing of human, societal and economic trends that ease and stimulate the expression of new ideas and solutions freeing-up expressions of creativity and at the same time reducing or eliminating barriers to such expression.
There overall index is generated by innovation input factors and innovation output ones. They spread throughout an entire array of factors that directly or indirectly have the power to boost or restrain that expression of creativity.
First of all, in my opinion, it needs to be pointed out that what this index measures does not fully represent what concrete innovation is in itself (an expression of creativity that solves problems effectively and/or finds affirmation on markets); rather it seem to focus on identifying an overall ecosystem that fosters the conception and development of creativity almost as an end in itself. This is a perspective that in my opinion requires further debate involving people that in actual practical terms are on the frontline to solve problems, generate effective business opportunities and/or take advantage at best of them.
No matter what kind change is happening around us, it is fuelled by many different sources: technological, business development, societal, overall economic and financial and certainly also regulatory. We need to become part of this flow of change by anticipating it, synchronising with it, stimulating it in order to benefit at best from the opportunities it generates (if we are able to look at it from many perspectives) and managing at best the solutions it requires.
The focus on innovation development and processes represents the power of the speed we need to reach. How to reach it depends from many of the different variables that fuel change itself, yet the a mindset shift and development often represents the key aspect to that speed of change we are able to reach and handle. This article gives some interesting perspectives on these factors.
When we talk about speed, change and complexities of business nowadays we are often puzzled by the many factors that affect the survival and development of small, midsize and large organisations. Technology, markets, finance, regulatory constraints, all of them represent at the same time challenges and opportunities for growth.
Motorsport, by its very nature, increasingly represents a powerful concentration and integrated mix of all of these aspects and variables: it requires a keen attention to how resources are managed in an effective and efficient way within constantly changing constraints. Motorsport is also a proper industry which turnover has been marking and marks billions of euros across the globe. In addition its research & development has a direct influence on many fields that go well beyond the intuitive one of the automotive: aerospace, energy, defence, medical, high-tech consumer goods represent additional sectors in which the applied research driven by companies directly related to Formula 1 such as McLaren Applied Technologies or Williams Advanced Engineering have an increasingly relevant influence.
Dr.Tim Angus, from University of Conventry, presenting at the University of Pisa International MBA
Recently at the University of Pisa International MBA these aspects have been pointed out with a particular focus on the Motor Valley in the United Kingdom which represents a clustered and integrated source for such developing activities. I have invited Dr.Tim Angus, from the University of Covetry, to make a presentation on such topic and it has caught the attention of the MBA participants and Italian organisations alike operating in the field and related one. At this link an article from Motorsport.com reporting on such presentation (in Italian).
A recent study published on Organizational Science and pointed out on a Fast Company article by the title “Unexpected lessons about innovation from Formula One teams” stresses that even the fast paced changing Formula One world shows that effective innovation is the one implemented in an incremental way.
There are many factors that influence directly innovation in Formula One: regulations, technologies, financials boundaries, yet the drive to performance needs to be focused and streamlined and a study points out that the incremental application of original know-how is the most effective one. When we think about innovation (products or services solving problems or being effectively embraced by markets) we need to observe that tracing back its roots we realise that truly it is always an incremental process, a process that at times can be accelerated by technologies or fast developing know-how, yet central key roots remain set in place.
This is a well organised and meaningful infographic, yet, arguably one aspects could be missing within this tracking system (focusing on patents, trademarks and industrial design): there is a wide variety of innovation with concrete market relevance that is not tracked because of cultural and traditional traits that not focus on the formal parameters utilised. Is this the reason why there are countries that apparently should be much higher on this scale because of their evident history of creativity and are not? (Italy among some of them)
Within the Entrepreneurship module of the University of Pisa International MBA we have hosted the E-Team Squadra Corse presenting their path to development and growth of the project.
University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA
They are adopting a marked entrepreneurial approach to the development of the entire project. The project is by now featuring an organisational chart composed by more than 60 roles and this is quite unique in itself within the International Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) program. The roles involve students belonging to technical, economics, organisational, marketing and communication fields . Their focus, competence and enthusiasm are contagious. INNOVATION is featured within many technical aspects as well as the organisational ones. Racing weekends are scheduled in July in Italy and August in Hungary. Stay tuned…
Digital technologies are multiplying the pace of change and the so called progress. Increasingly we talk about market disruptions, business models that have produced margins and sustainability for years now they keep getting replaced by new ones at a faster and faster pace. A key role that technology has within these dynamics is to boost the speed of the entire process influencing directly the way business models (from producer to user) are set. Interestingly within all of this people’s original ideas and visions still represent the essential sparks and foundations of it all: this is why arguably much before technology open visionary mindsets are relevant to progressive changes. We will debate about these topics from several perspectives during a debate held as part to the 2016 edition (the 7th one) of the University of Pisa International MBA.
This is an interesting article just published (March 2016) on McKinsey Quarterly “The essentials of digital strategy” , it points out in a clear way several new possibilities and opportunities shaped up by all of this.
The companies involved in the debate will introduce projects that are underway and that are leveraging upon both fresh mindsets with a global projection and the latest digital technologies enabling it all.
A recent relevant research by the Work Foundation predicted that by 2017 more than half of the employers in the UK will adopt flexible working practices by 2017 .
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has been an advocate of this practice for years. He has recently pointed-out the research within his blog , underlining also that in some major companies people have shown that they would be happy to give trade part of their salary with more flexible hours (see for example a study within Samsung cited by Branson) .
In many ways Virgin Group cannot be considered a key reference to the trend because of its uniquely rooted culture: since the very beginning it has always featured a flair for aggressive business development and a zest for letting people express their personalities and interests “work hard, play hard” is no-doubt one of the Group’s mantra.
In 2013 some direct statements by Branson made headlines on many newspapers across the globe “Give the people the freedom of where to work” . Now it seems like this is set to become mainstream also within more traditional organisational cultures; the reason for that is that increasingly companies need to focus on actual effective and efficient results and those often do not have many rational links to the routine of ‘showing-up on the job’.
While this concept begins to make headways (if not for an actual focus on work – life balance, because of a pragmatic one on business development) the issue here is about the need for a suitable mindset and training to develop this novel way to work (even if, to many of us, entrepreneurs and professionals alike, this has not been novel at all for decades…) .
In fact, flexible working requires two essential factors: a) people need to become aware of their skills to work with little task supervision yet meet stringent quantitative and qualitative targets (awareness need to focused continuos improvement action); b) companies need to have clear ideas of what needs to be assigned to whom depending on the people level of know-how, talent and what is actually needed to reach a well identified target.
To me both issues can be quite troubling at least at the beginning of this trend. In particular it’s the organisational ‘homework’ that mostly concerns me: today how many organisations (large or small) are not only willing but also ready to organise work concrete targets that individuals (because of their talents and actual know-how) can handle swiftly and effectively working by themselves or in groups? Let’s talk about it…
Richard Branson, with his story and strong visionary projection towards the future, can be easily perceived as one-off sort of person and entrepreneur. Many of his projects have been and are so outlandish that truly seem an ongoing PR stunt as the ones so many times he was involved directly into. The project Virgin Galactic is one of them, with the actual SpaceShip Two recently present within a big Celebration even ‘Virgin Style’ (see article “Celebrating Unity” ).
Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two
Yet, we need to realize that among successes and failures (that he openly admits and almost refreshingly seeks) there is one constant factor: truly empowering people (within his companies and outside of them) to aspire, inspire and give the very best while having FUN in the process. Fun is driven by a sense of unity, challenge, meaning and daring; characteristics that represent the essence of the Virgin Galactic project. The same kind of FUN can be built in any entrepreneurial project (relatively small or big) in any organisation. Its benefits will be manyfold as Virgin Group keeps on demonstrating. Are we up to dare enough for the challenge?