Hug an Entrepreneur

e1f187932fd9d901833353948e85cd94With the world changing so rapidly with deployment of new technologies, leveraging of more information and the ongoing digital disruption of many industries we need entrepreneurs and innovators more than ever.For the financial and social good of every community we need people prepared to have a go and put it all on the line not because they want to make money …. but generally because they know the good the money can do.

We cant rely on Government to make the bold decisions needed at best we need them to support those having a go and do their best not to get in the way …. As I often say if you rely on Government for nothing you will never be disappointed

But its never easy being an entrepreneur and it can be lonely as well as physically and financially challenging as generally it involves taking big risks…..  As the old saying goes an Entrepreneur is prepared to live like most others wouldn’t so that he can live like most others never could.

A few months ago I almost gave up on my dream… But thanks to Reece Formosa and his invite to an event where I heard an amazing collection of young entrepreneurs talk about their struggle and their vision I picked myself up again…

I was reminded that you don’t become an entrepreneur you either are one or you aren’t

Sadly most people don’t get us…. They don’t get that it’s not about money… if it was we would take their advice… Get a job… Accept a handout etc…
It is all about what the money can do!!
I know entrepreneurs do it for the passion of what we believe… Unlike most people we get our why … if you want to be passionate about anything first you need to find Find Your Why   …. Most of us want to make the world a much better place and we don’t want to wait on others e.g. Governments to do it.
I attended an event recently where Brad Feld spoke about Entrepreneurism – Feld  is an American entrepreneur, author, blogger, and venture capitalist at Foundry Group in Boulder, Colorado. Feld began financing technology startups in the early 1990s, first as an angel and later an institutional investor. One of many things he said struck an accord with me –
When Entrepreneurs see a need for something they go ahead and do it they dont wait for others. …  That explained why I started Innovation in the City
It’s that passion that gets you through the days when you decide to walk to the city and save the bus fare for a coffee….. Because you have put everything into your passion and suddenly you realise $5 has become a small fortune…coz that’s all you have.

If everyone esp Governments valued entrepreneurs the world would be a better place soon.
The great thing about not giving up is the amazing people and opportunities that come to you because of who you are – not what you have…or in many cases pretend to be with fancy titles etc

There will be a party soon and all of you who keep me going will be there…. Meantime if you come across a struggling entrepreneur give them a big hug… We are fuelled by passion and emotion and so we probably need a hug more than most people.
That’s it for now… 

Anyone want to catch up for a drink or give me a hug… Let me know…
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Innovation starts in every Mainstreet

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My home town Adelaide is desperate to become a renowned Innovation City and I am very keen to help that happen ….as we need it if the city is to prosper!!

Adelaide has a unique opportunity to position itself as an Innovation Hub by capitalising on the existing Eco System that has been established and adding a few unique and missing elements.

For Innovation to flourish we need to develop a high level of support from the broader community to embrace the culture of Innovation. We need everyone to support and foster the drive and ambition of those who have the focus and opportunity engage in Entrepreneurial and Innovation projects in existing business and brand new start ups.

To do this its important to take innovation to the community and establish places where they can experience it in a manner appropriate to their situation.

While many people see Innovation as coming our of new ideas in Universities, Incubators, Think tanks etc and backed by Venture Capitalists, grants etc ….  to get Innovation that results in High Growth Ready Businesses we also need to grow it within existing business ….Micro, Small, Medium and large!!

Continue reading Innovation starts in every Mainstreet

Innovating How we Innovate – The Why

innovation  avanzi.orgRecently I read an article in Adelaide’s daily online “Newspaper” InDaily about Innovating South Australia’s Future which on one hand enthused me as a proponent of the urgent need for Innovation here and on the other disappointed me because we are still missing the mark in many ways.

With South Australia’s economy under pressure due to past reliance on manufacturing. mining etc and as such climbing jobless its great that much is being done.

But clearly more needs to done to develop an environment that foster, support and invest in emerging start-ups that WILL make a significant economic contribution.

The InDaily story is based upon a submission by Regional Development Australia Adelaide (RDAA) and Adelaide City Council to the Australian Technologies Competition.

“The submission details the expertise and resources that exist in South Australia and the extensive collaboration that is occurring on a daily basis in Adelaide between entrepreneurial individuals, companies, councils, universities and the different levels of government.” – In Daily – Vanguard

“Greater Adelaide has a very rich ecosystem of support for new ventures,” the submission says.

While its great that clearly Adelaide has the will to really DO something And YES  – getting the right ecosystem is the key – it seems the activity is in many ways isolated from the Community at Large

But I have two major issues –

As someone who has a real focus on Innovation via my business enovAsia and the Not For profit Group we founded Innovation In The City I did not know the full extent of the EcoSystem …. as such how would the average person have any idea of it as being so comprehensive.

  • 109 programs specifically supporting entrepreneurs and new ventures,
  • 11 incubators and accelerator programs,
  • 9 entrepreneurship education award programs,
  • 17 industry driven education programs for entrepreneurs, and
  • 14 co-working spaces.

If we are to foster and fully support Innovation we must reach the broader community to engage their support not keep “preaching to the choir” with more and more programs. And Innovation needs to be encouraged in existing businesses not just focussed on the startUp community.  There is a need for more integration between new and established business for sustainable success.

The second point that became evident is that we are not focussing on two things I think are fundamental to making SA not only a renowned Innovation Hub but one that makes a major contribution to the future of the State of South Australia. To do this we need to Identify StartUps/Innovations which:

  • Further develop what we already have here in terms of expertise, industries, environment etc (e.g. Food and Wine, Education, Medical research) not just support anyone with a good idea for the nest big thing.  But we also must support people working with the trends that will define the future of SA,

and

  • Become High Growth Businesses that employ people/bring revenue into SA for the long term.
    • High-growth enterprises, as measured by employment (or by turnover), are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period – OECD 

When I shared my thoughts with a colleague in the UK, Harold Sharples, who is a world renowned specialist Innovation Consultant, he agreed with my thinking and referred me to a very recently released report The Global StartUp Ecosystem Ranking 2015.  Harold has taught Innovation to many people and companies around the world including IBM and Coke and including current Apple CEO Tim Cook when he was at IBM.

From this report and subsequent discussions it became evident that while Adelaide is on the right path there may well be a better one to achieve the economic benefits we are aiming for here.

Clearly if we keep building the same ol’ ecosystem,  we’ll just keep getting the same ol’ results …

In Harold’s words,  “it’ll still take 2,000 startups to get one High Growth business”.  This is based upon solid research done over many years.

The key is “innovating how we innovate” … making genuine innovations – in the ecosystem as well as in businesses and technology – and without it,  we won’t get that 10x change which is what we need.

In the report on Global EcoSystems “there’s some great research stuff at the beginning,”  but it ends up with the usual reheated stuff about better ecosystems to match funding with ideas  … Not better better ecosystems that innovate how we innovate.   In other words,  they still envisage a 1 in 2,000 future … at the moment,  their ‘big idea’ is to figure out ways to fail faster and lose less (and promote cities to do it in – and in Oz, only Sydney gets onto their radar!.

The report highlights that we are now at the Tipping Point in the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Era .

More than ever before,  INNOVATION will be the key to success – in most endeavours – and in most fields.

I agree totally with Harold’s words below and in my next posts – Innovating How we Innovate – The What   and Innovating How we Innovate – The How  I will outline the approach we plan to take in Adelaide starting now.

“So far,  the ‘new era’ they refer to represents the posing of a new need/problem-statement —>  As of today,  we’re still in the old era … but we’ve come upon a new set of challenges that can’t be solved with the same level of thinking we’ve used to discover them —> We won’t actually be in the new era until we have a new solution AND APPLY IT.

Innovating how we innovate is what the solution will look like. 

Actually ACHIEVING that is how we ENTER the new era.   (The dawn of the agricultural / Industrial revolution didn’t occur until we’d FOUND and applied the solutions … there’s no cigar for discovering a new set of problems)

The principles embedded in my solution hypotheses for both IBM and for Business (re)invention generally can be applied to almost any field of endeavour:

From Ice Skating to Dance;  from Business building to Cuisine;  from design to ecosystems.” – Harold Sharples

Clearly there needs to be a better way so What Next?

It’s Your Bubble and Your Pyramid

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Whenever I talk about developing your personal brand and leadership,  I talk about finding your Passion and Your Why and then I liken it to building the Pyramids and then explain how to build your personal “Me Inc” Pyramid.

I developed this concept when managing high profile sportspeople as a visual way to get them thinking about what was right or wrong for their brand.

Pyramids are made up of blocks / bricks based upon a solid foundation.  As such as we develop and grow through our life we are constantly faced with decisions about the options available to us. These options can be viewed as bricks and each assessed as to whether it adds value and strength to our pyramid or in fact it may take a brick out and lead to the pyramiFinding Your Centre_000001d collapsing

But increasingly your personal brand is about how others see you and the expectations and the norms that society wants to limit and measure you with. This has lead to developing the concept of your approach to life (your style) and hence how others perceive you as being bubble like. At the right end of the Bubble is the very traditional view of normal behaviour for a person of your age, general, race, creed, etc etc and at the other end are the boundaries that may or may not be acceptable within your society.

These days,  in the age of Disruptive Innovation,  we need to explore and push those boundaries in developing the real you without being perceived as Out of Control – just as much as you need to avoid being too “normal” and as such being seen as boring and uninteresting. Continue reading It’s Your Bubble and Your Pyramid

Want to be a Leader?? Be Courageous + Trusted + Connected

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I get sick and tired of hearing from politicians and those out of touch with modern business about the Bosses vs Workers, the importance of Unions and more than anything that phase “Working Australians”

It seems if you don’t rely on someone to pay your wage every day you are a working Australian and the rest of us that help create those jobs are clearly sitting on our arses and aren’t working at all!!

These days any business going somewhere  understands that being connected with and trusted by the people that work with/for you is the key to success. As such there is no them vs us mentality in successful long term business …or there should not be if they want to continue to grow.

Having recently written about Personal Branding and  Leadership and presented to a
group of masters Students at Carnegie Mellon I have spent quite a bit of time thinking and reading about what Leadership is…. and what it is not. Continue reading Want to be a Leader?? Be Courageous + Trusted + Connected

Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything

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under30ceo.com

Some months ago I wrote about the importance of talking about Why you do what you do in Business and How you do it ….rather than just tell people what you do.   Its not just what you do that counts …but why you do it….. and how you do it

And more recently a couple of things have had me thinking about this Why Question in terms of every individual.  Why do we do what we do?

Firstly I have been researching for a presentation to a group of University Students looking at a career in Consulting when they graduate soon…. the topic they have asked me to cover is “Leadership and Your Personal Brand”.

This had me thinking about Leaders and the Personal Brand attributes needed to become a successful leader which inevitably lead me to the need to be Passionate if you wish to inspire others. …….. but to be Passionate it is vital, I think, to know Why you do what you do.

And then a personal situation hit me hard when a colleague of many many years and a personal friend at times over those years, very recently took his own life following a lengthy and at times visibly successful career. Continue reading Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything