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Oxford Business School states that “Oxford Entrepreneurs are an inspirational crowd—young and full of ideas and energy. If they and their like can sustain a decent level of enthusiasm, then we will still have a worthwhile enterprise economy in a few decades’ time.”
Entrepreneurialism is on the rise. The enthusiasm, fueled by the search for business alternatives in the waning global economy or rising prospects resulting from adversity, is driving a new breed of entrepreneurs.
There was a time when only dedicated entrepreneurs entertained such freelancing practices but many individuals are now turning to the entrepreneurial free thinking spirit as a means to either survive or capture the prospects.
To understand the differences between serious entrepreneurs and dedicated businessmen consider the differences in attitudes and perspectives. Typically a business is built on justifiable business outcomes with structured practices and processes to realise the business. With a true entrepreneurial approach the logic and structure is thrown out of the door; it’s a free for all—of ideas, potentials, processes and justifications leading to untraveled paths for achieving business success.
It starts with an idea! One that is unique and not easy to replicate. Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Michael Dell and Simon Cowell started with an idea that was so unique, others didn’t see it.
When it comes to cultivating unique ideas most people rely on inspiration. But inspiration is too fleeting and often times not unique enough; why try to reinvent the wheel while a Porsche is roaring by. The alternative is all around us in the form of intersectional innovation.
Intersectional innovation varies from other forms of innovation in that it relies on values from two different but complimentary fields combining to fulfill a need that is challenging to meet. This indicates that the need should exist first but not necessarily. A product or service can be created for which a need is not recognised; the true entrepreneurial approach would then take it further by either creating the need or making the need visible to the market. This is a demanding approach and not for the faint of heart as it requires significant drive and commitment. The world is full of good ideas before their time and never realised, I’m sure you know of a few.
In our concept of intersectional innovation, the fields can represent different areas of industry, business or discipline. We typically tend to innovate within one field of focus; in the manufacturing industry we find improvements or innovation in reducing the production time by introducing automation or process enhancement, or, in the engineering field we innovate in the functionality of a device by combining technologies from other devices. Mobile phones of today are a good example, where can you find a mobile phone that doesn’t have a built in camera?
Intersectional innovation though, brings developments from one field into another. The Fat Duck is a restaurant in Bray, England. What is different from this restaurant than any other are the dishes, or what’s in them, literally. Chef Heston Blumenthal mixes chemicals and culinary ingredients to cultivate dishes such as scrambled eggs and bacon ice cream. For any would-be chefs’ out there we all know what happens when you combine bacon and eggs with ice cream, no matter how much pureeing you’ve done it’s neither aesthetic nor appetising.
The secret is in emulating the ‘tastes’ of bacon and eggs so immaculately that the human senses can’t distinguish the fact that you’re eating ice cream and not breakfast.
Is Heston Blumenthal a chef or scientist? His work researches the molecular compounds of dishes to enable a greater understanding of taste and flavor. His original and scientific approach to the molecular breakdown of cuisine has teamed him with fellow chefs, scientists and psychologists throughout the world. By combining culinary fields with that of science he has established distinct and unique creations that set him and his restaurant apart from others in the same field.
The result is an Honorary Doctorate of Science for the chef, a continual award winning performance and three Michelin Stars for the Fat Duck; the highest coveted symbol of outstanding quality awarded to restaurants by the prestigious Michelin Guide.
Intersectional innovation can be achieved by anyone at anytime but it requires a process. In his book The Medici Effect, author Frans Johansson explains the steps for achieving intersectional innovation; the challenge is in navigating the path to get you there.
For those who seek to be the boss of their own company, earning a vast amount of money and success beyond unimaginable boundaries, entrepreneurship would be the answer. The trial is to find that intersectional idea that assures your success. The true Entrepreneurs credo can be found in the words of Albert Einstein—“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it!”
Dr. Rodwin Bahadur is the founder and CEO of People équation, an intersectional consulting and training firm specializing in Management & Leadership, Strategies, Sales & Marketing and Innovation. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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