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Can Australian Managers be Entrepreneurial?

Most managers would scoff at the idea that they are entrepreneurial --- entrepreneurs are guys creating new businesses from their garages --- aren't they?

Actually an entrepreneur is anyone who takes a risk in creating something from nothing. While typically part of a new enterprise or a new venture, entrepreneurs can work within an organisation (intrapreneur) or work not-for-profit (social entrepreneur); in either case the emphasis is on innovation --- doing things differently to add value.

So, if we are interested in creating new products, new markets, new production methods, even new forms of organisation, we are entrepreneurs.

Last week I asked 20 entrepreneurs (MBA students in a course I teach at Swinburne University) to create a Mind Map of key characteristics that define an "innovative entrepreneur". Aspects they included were vision, leadership, risk taker, networking, persistence, strategy and opportunity evaluation.

More interestingly, they also included dreamer, explorer, creative, ideas person, problem solver and thinker.

The first list of responses deal with qualities one can hone in a variety of ways --- right here on BNET, for example.

The second qualities are not so easy --- or so many people feel. Well let's bust that myth right now. Essentially, the foundation for accessing all of these elements is altering how you "think" --- a skill we can easily learn.

Can you learn to be creative? Yes. What is the link between reading, memory, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship? These are some of the issues I'll explore in Head First Innovation.