Entrepreneurs open the doors to innovation.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation are a deadly combination
Everybody including businesses, corporations, non-profit organisations, industry associations, and communities are all looking to increase the pace and quality of their innovation.
Entrepreneurship refers to the process of developing new opportunities, or growing existing ones. Central to this activity are entrepreneurs. Innovative people who seek to bring about change and new opportunities, both for themselves and for the enterprises or the communities in which they operate. Such people play a vitally important role in commerce, trade, and economic growth in many communities, through the practice of innovation.
Some think the best way to introduce innovation is to separate creative people from the rest and get them working separately, while others think every employee needs to be innovating all of the time according to their job role and areas of expertise. Neither is practical nor productive in real life,
You don’t want all your people to be entrepreneurs, but you can have more people utilising entrepreneurial attributes. While I believe real entrepreneurs are born not, made, the fact is it’s possible for people to develop entrepreneurial characteristics
“While you may have an entrepreneurial culture, organisations themselves are not entrepreneurial, the people are”. Peter Sergeant.
How can you bring entrepreneurs and innovation together?
- Focus on your direction. Have a clear purpose, vision and objectives for everyone to focus on. You want your whole organisation focused on activities that are aligned with the purpose, vision and objectives. The last thing you want is innovation that takes the business in the wrong direction.
- Train and take out the strain. Everyone will benefit from learning the many attributes of a real entrepreneur. While there will be some attributes they can’t learn, most of them will be of great benefit.
- Build a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Inside and outside of organisations, entrepreneurship best thrives within tribes. Employees need groups in which to collaborate and confide as they think of and try out ideas.
- Foster continuous improvement and experimentation. Organisations that want to encourage entrepreneurship need to have a cultural tolerance for changing course. If you try an idea and it doesn’t work out, that needs to be taken as a sign to go in a different direction, not a hallmark of failure.
- Pump ideas into the organisation. Utilise big data to gain better insights into the marketplace on which to become more innovative with customer service. Build you organisations knowledge base to facilitate the free exchange of company and other information on which to base problem-solving and decision-making.
- Utilise new technologies. While the majority of your employees might not be entrepreneurs you can encourage more entrepreneurial activity and innovation using modern technology.
- Welcome new metrics. Traditional metrics can inadequate and can discourage additional creativity and innovation. Look to use new metrics that encourage entrepreneurship and encourage experimentation and innovation.
- Protect social capital and intellectual property. Reputation is everything within any organisation, and no one wants to be seen as a failure. If you want employees to experiment and be entrepreneurial, protect their reputation when their idea fail to deliver and be sure to reward outstanding innovations.
- Foster ownership behaviour. Contrary to popular belief, more money is not the thing the best employees want most. In many cases, they would be happier if they had more ownership over their work and a more flexible working environment. When you do this their creativity and innovation ideas flourish and they become more entrepreneurial.
- Flexible working environment. With the right approach, flexible working arrangements can help your employees achieve a work-life balance that benefits your organisation. When they can work when they like and where they like they are more likely to be productive and observe new ideas from different surroundings.
Entrepreneurship is not smoke and mirrors, it is real and an essential part of fast and valuable innovation. Be sure you understand why.
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As an entrepreneur, I know entrepreneurship and innovation can generate some confusion. However, I think anybody who is interested in starting or building a successful business, non-profit organisation or community, will find it is well worth understanding these two words and how they work together. This combination is a real instrument of change and a way to overcome the struggles so many endure.
At a time when government desperatelyrately trying to restore growth and overcome the global economic and financial problems, specific attention needs to be focused on innovative entrepreneurship. It can play an important role in contributing to economic growth and job creation and can help address key social challenges.
Entrepreneurs can create new conversations, that will lead to new relationships, better health and better businesses as well as nicer places in which to live.