Felix Staeritz
Felix Staeritz is the Founder & CEO of FoundersLane, Member of the Board of Digital Leaders, World Economic Forum, and author of bestseller FightBack and FightBack Now
Felix Staeritz

Member Article

Why an entrepreneurial mindset holds the key to successful innovation

The Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented, both in terms of its disruption to everyday life and the scale of its impact across nations. Yet despite this gloomy backdrop, many people have decided to take matters into their own hands and create small initiatives to help solve some of the more immediate challenges they are facing.

This has included the likes of stay-at-home mums creating online support groups to ensure those shielding get their food and medicines on time, or the many local, national and international remote hackathons that have created solutions to less obvious challenges the pandemic has created.

This entrepreneurial mindset is exactly what corporate leaders need to tap into if they want to create viable and meaningful innovations that tackle today’s big challenges in areas such as climate or health. So how does one successfully identify and channel an entrepreneurial mindset within yourself or an organisation?

Key attributes of entrepreneurs

While it might be hard to quantify and measure what this entails, it is possible to empirically define some of the key attributes of an entrepreneurial spirit. In effect, there are eight specific attributes that seem to be an essential part of the make-up of everyone who successfully channels an entrepreneurial mindset to launch new ventures.

A SENSE OF MISSION – They have an urgent need to make an impact and make a difference. Money comes into it, but it’s almost always a secondary motivation. There is an urge to change and improve the world – or at least some corner of it.

BOLDNESS – Entrepreneurs don’t just accept risk. They like to measure themselves against it. It’s part of the thrill. They’re not necessarily adrenalin junkies or extreme sport fans, but they do relish the speed and unpredictability of start-up life.

DECISIVENESS – They make things happen fast around them. Their ambition is to find a way to change the wheel while the car’s still moving.

ADAPTABILITY – They learn by doing – by trying and failing and changing course without regrets. Successful tech entrepreneurs don’t wait until they can be certain of success. They know where they need to get to and there may be a master plan, but if it’s not working, they’ll do something different.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL – They back up the big vision with a nitpicking, nuts-and-bolts knowledge of everything that’s going on, how and when and why. It’s their baby, and they want to know every freckle.

RESILIENCE – They are persistent, resilient and tenacious. Setbacks will occur and the entrepreneur may often be the only one with the energy and belief to keep going.

CURIOSITY – They learn quickly, sucking in ideas and information from all directions. Because they never know where the next good idea is coming from, they are surprisingly good listeners.

FAITH IN TECHNOLOGY – Many successful entrepreneurs love tech. They believe it can usually come up with a solution to any problem, as long as the problem is identified or reframed correctly.

People don’t have to consider themselves an entrepreneur to display these attributes. For organisations looking to channel an entrepreneurial mindset to create meaningful and sustainable innovations this means that they should look both inwards and outwards to find the right talent for these initiatives. Once they have, it is imperative they use a powerful, potent and tried-and-tested framework to ensure their innovations come to fruition and ultimately have the desired impact.

A powerful framework for successful innovation

Today’s innovators are not people that want to do things by themselves, but instead team players, who are looking to force change for good. But while entrepreneurs might have the creative drive and agile thinking that allows them to come up with innovations that challenge the status quo in a meaningful way, they often lack the necessary resources to successfully scale those innovations, which ultimately reduces their impact.

The key here is a best-of-both-worlds innovation framework called Corporate Venture Building which brings together the disruptive, creative and innovative power of entrepreneurs with the vast resources including networks, capital or know-how from corporations to scale ideas at pace. This is particularly important in highly-regulated industries like energy and health, which are most in need of new impactful and sustainable innovations.

Many companies have already used Corporate Venture Building (CVB) to create innovations and new digital business models. This includes Vattenfall, a multinational power company, which has launched Solytic, a business that optimises the performance of hundreds of thousands of solar panels by using artificial intelligence and data analytics. Solytic currently operates in 60 countries and, in addition to being a profitable business, also makes a meaningful contribution in combating climate change.

There has never been a more urgent time to change the innovation mindset dynamic within corporations. By channelling an entrepreneurial mindset to create impactful, sustainable and long-lasting innovations and using existing assets and resources to scale them up quickly and effectively, corporations can help address some of the key issues of our time like climate change or struggling healthcare systems. At the end of the day, this is a win-win for everyone.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Felix Staeritz .

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