The contributions of some of the greatest entrepreneurs have made the world a better place. One just needs to review the idea breakthroughs of the last 30 years to know that our world has changed incredibly to the vision of many people. The dreams of turning every concept idea into reality. Every aspect of our lives are being touched by new products and services that we now take for granted. From the humble bicycle, the car is no longer just a mode of transportation, but can now be used for pleasure as we drive, passengers can now productively do other things rather than just listen to the radio or some old tapes. We now have cars that can help you to park or with satellite navigational system getting lost is now considerably reduced, well for many people as I still occasionally find myself ‘lost in transit’ due in many instances to my own stubbornness or stupidity.
The word entrepreneurship is sometimes over used, not everyone who has taken the risk to start their own business is an entrepreneur. The meaning of the word goes beyond just taking the risk of avoiding unemployment. It includes those who manage other people’s businesses as well, but the most differentiating factor is that the entrepreneur must be willing to innovate.
Innovation is a key element in entrepreneurship. So what do we mean by ‘innovation’? According to the online knowledge bank;Wikipedia, innovation is a new idea, device or method of doing things’. So innovation is not only about new technology, it is about how we can do what we currently do better.
The important thing is that we all have the ability to make things better. We can all innovate in the different areas of our specialisation. Teachers can innovate, cleaners can also do the same. It is when innovation collides with the spirit of entrepreneurship that we have a wonderful combination. A person willing to take risk, but at the same time ready to do things differently or create a new device, method or idea. That concept can lead to a great new world.
That is what separates the change makers from the rest of us who just try to ‘go with the flow’. It needs to be said at this point that entrepreneurship is not only about starting a business or converting such new ideas, process or method into profit, but about making things better for others as well. Hence there are also many social entrepreneurs, those with the aim of turning our world into a better or more comfortable place for those many of us who are less fortunate.
Entrepreneurship is and can be a force for good. We need to be ready and willing to unleash that spirit that allows us to think of how we can make things better, more comfortable or easier for others, even if there is no possibility of a gain. It is about a legacy that turns the world into a better place. The current mode of operation, system or process was probably designed by people who thought it was best at the time, but things are changing so fast that we have to be ready to look at the norm and turn that process or device upside down.
A few days ago my 13 year old daughter found an old disk Walkman and wondered what it was. It took a bit of time to explain that a few years ago that was the best way to listen to music on the go and it was an improvement on the original Walkman that used cassette tapes and a lot of batteries. Thanks to companies like Apple, music can now be stored in a different format, played for longer and carried almost invisibly. Impossible to believe that we can listen to good quality digital music, but imagine if Apple kept thinking of cassette tapes as the only solution. I wonder what happened to companies who made those cassette tapes and CD’s, if they have not changed, they definitely will be out of business by now.
Just like entrepreneurship, innovation must be a constant drive for improvement, better process or better product, we can never be satisfied with what we currently have in place.