Technology is supposed to make things easier for you. We first imagined robots that would obey our every command. Now we ask ourselves, when the robots do get here, will they want our jobs? Might they even start telling us what we can and can't do. That future is already here. The robots are already here, it's just that they don't look like us - yet. The human cashier at the supermarket is gone. Instead, you do exactly what you are told to do by a machine. "Unexpected item in the bagging area!" Similarly, your phone has trained you like a pet. It has you by an invisible electronic leash and it gives you treats to keep you rewarded and hooked. How many times do you look at your phone in a day? Do you control the technology or does it control you? Sit. Swipe. Send. Good human!
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I’m no longer surprised how often I hear that people have been asked to do real work for free. I’m not talking about being asked to volunteer for a good cause. I’m talking about doing work for which, on any ethical or legal basis, you should be paid. The MINDSET mnemonic includes "N never act unethically". Not paying people for work they have undertaken is unethical. Other examples of unethical behaviours by entrepreneurs include bad customer service, ignoring employment rights, exploiting workers, obscene levels of benefits, tax avoidance and evasion, and monopolies that squeeze out smaller players and new entrants. The entrepreneurial mindset, as defined in the mnemonic, not only rejects these unethical practices but invites you to challenge unethical behaviour in others.
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These are interesting questions for me. Who do people identify as entrepreneurs? Which entrepreneurs do they find inspiring and see as potential role models? Responding to these questions on LInkedIn, people cited the following people as role models:
- Torben Bager, a Danish professor at a university entrepreneurship centre
- Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian commodities entrepreneur
- Robert Kiyosaki, an American entrepreneur providing finance and business education
- Ivan Tyrsted, a Danish business angel
- Gary Vee, a Belarusian American media entrepreneur
and other people found inspiration in students in Nigeria and from their own grandmother!
Even these handful of people demonstrate that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and that although we can find role models in the media we can also find them much closer to home.
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Do you want to understand how far you have come on your entrepreneurial journey and where to aim for next?
My vision is that everybody can benefit from having an entrepreneurial mindset. However, the entrepreneurial mindset is often discussed in very simplistic terms - you either have it or you don’t. Therefore, your journey is simply to go from zero to entrepreneurial hero. Realistically, it can’t be as simple as that. For example, all around the world people know a lot about how to ‘start up’ but much less about how to progress to ‘scale up’.
I am promoting a model that breaks the entrepreneurial journey down into six stages:
1 Wake Up, 2 Wise Up, 3 Warm Up, 4 Start Up, 5 Scale Up and 6 Shake Up
The model is designed to help people to get going on their entrepreneurial journey and to help them plan how to get to the next stage. A big lesson is that the knowledge and skills that help you to master one stage might not be what you need to get you to the next stage!
The Entrepreneurial Ⓜ️indset Network is an international network with a mission to support you on your entrepreneurial journey.
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It was pleasure to explore this question when I recently gave a keynote speech entitled “The Living University” at a special event on the topic of “Third Mission of Universities: opportunities and challenges” organised by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. The event was a stimulating mix of discussions, information sharing and cultural events including theatrical and musical performances. Hundreds of people attended the event. People from all walks life in Milan discovered "an unexpected university" - one that is intimately connected to the city. For me the "Living University" is one that is fully engaged with the people of its city and is working in partnership to create economic, social and cultural value. It was very impressive to witness the mutual commitment of the university and the city to this vital collaboration. I was very grateful to have been invited to contribute to this debate and I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction to the beautiful environment of the university.
Download an interview that was published in Corporate Social Responsibility Today.
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I had a great time exploring that question in January during the “Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education: fast-tracking entrepreneurship development” 3-day event in Johannesburg. I led 4 workshops at the event on the themes of the economic and social impacts of entrepreneurship, the concept & practice of the entrepreneurial university, the 6 stages of the entrepreneurial journey and the power of the entrepreneurial mindset. The participants, who came from 29 higher education institutions in South Africa were friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, open and inspiring. They were such a pleasure to work with. Together we mapped out how each person could make their own contribution to developing the entrepreneurial mindsets that will be necessary for the future. Many thanks to Norah Clarke at Universities South Africa and Anisa Khan at the British Council in South Africa for the invitation to contribute to this event. I am already looking forward to our next collaboration!
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Change your mindset, change the world.