Friday, 16 March 2012

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship & Innovation part 1


This contribution denotes a reflectional journey based on the sessions attended during the three – week tracks in the realms of the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Business Academy. A core part of the curriculum has been the attendance and active participation in different sessions based on the stream followed and the cognitive framework perceived. The tracks consist of daily sessions with different entrepreneurs, professionals and experienced players in the market and according to the stream followed they are categorized in the Bio, ICT and General. The first two weeks I attended the Bio – Entrepreneurship track and the last week the General – Entrepreneurship track. 

Areas of interest

The program of the tracks as a whole can be perceived under three pillars: biotechnology, entrepreneurship and personal development. These above mentioned pillars repose the starting point of understanding the framework of biotechnology, its developments in Luxembourg, the research culture that brings and the way it is expressed through business incentives and monetization. Entrepreneurship is the key issue since the majority of the speakers has either been experienced entrepreneurs themselves or has been actively involved in the promotion of an entrepreneurial spirit by embellishing a new mindset through their personal paths, mistakes and perceptions. Last but not least personal development has led to the endorsement and the empowerment of being able to comprehend the individual role of the person per se in terms of grasping the inner energy, feelings, strengths, weaknesses and perseverance which lead into taking the initiative to think outside of the box, take the big step forward and make the dream become a reality. 

Purpose & Methodology

The purpose of this reflection is not to point out every single detail, to comment, assess or even describe every single session per se, but to try and extract some main ideas, key words or even core phrases that have remained in my mind, that still echo and inspire me by developing personal attitudes, bringing a new mindset and setting up the field. This material will be analyzed based on my experience, feelings and ability to grasp and assess the working knowledge. It is comprised of my own perceptions, interpretation and feelings combined to the ideas and the presentations of each lecturer. In a nutshell the reflection will mainly focus into creating and enriching the pool of entrepreneurial characteristics by going deeper into psychological pathways of establishing both an inner feeling and the elements of ethical and moral principles that have created a strong impact in my personality, character and academic learning.   

Reflectional journey 

As a starting point, one of the first key words that still echoes in my mind is the word needs and the way they can be transformed into an entrepreneurial opportunity. Paul Kerney[1] mentioned that without needs there are no solutions, without solutions it is virtually impossible to establish value. Value is represented by a "solution" that enables a prospect to make money, save money, save time and reduce risk. If a value cannot be established, it is practically impossible to justify any price. And by price it is denoted here not only the monetization of the solution i.e. the amount of money that the customer would pay in return for the solution to the problem but also the feeling of success and satisfaction of the return through a viable and sustainable solution. Listening to the word need, it immediately came to my mind a phrase from a book I was reading a while ago by Micheal Strong [2009][2]. Strong is talking about his vision of creating a community of people who would share the vision of understanding the needs and would serve as a beacon to liberty human potential and making the world a better place. And this is what entrepreneurship is about. It is not only about profit, it is not only about money and capitalization. It is about liberating the entrepreneurial spirit for good and promoting the proposition that “creative entrepreneurs can help solve all the challenges and needs in the world”

According to Richard Fry[3], “understanding the need is a core element of the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur”. If I could try and give a character to the process I would say that the path consists of the following elements: curiosity - credibility, building a sustainable relationship, earning the right to ask "hard" questions (earn the right to ask difficult questions by giving, receiving and sharing), identification of needs, qualification (putting together all the little pieces of information, reflecting and going back with suggestions), presenting solutions, establishing value, commitment and finally proceeding to the actual “deal”.  This is the process that a successful entrepreneur should be able to follow, understand and be committed to.

[1] Tuesday February 7th, Paul Kerney, CEO and co – founder of Integrated Diagnostics on “Report from the field: Case studies in Biotech Entrepreneurship”
[2] Michael Strong “Be the solution – how entrepreneurs and conscious capitalists can solve all the world’s problems”. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2009. New Jersey.
[3] Tuesday February 7th, Richard Fry, CEO of Cellon on “Entrepreneurs, start ups from trading to production of bottles”

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