Approaches For Identifying & Creating Opportunities
Last night I had the opportunity to give the keynote for the Venture Cup Kick-off in Trondheim, Norway. This event attracted more than 200 students who will be working in project teams to develop business plans for new venture ideas. The students are technology, innovation management, entrepreneurship and engineering students who have all been inspired by entrepreneurship. This program is one of several that are increasingly prevalent all over Norway. Another program is a 1.5 million Norwegian Krona competition supported by local businesses whereby start-up entrepreneurs apply to have student teams write a business plan for them. Dozens of entrepreneurs apply, and about 6-8 are selected, and matched with teams of 4-6 students. These students are given one week to develop the business plan. On the last day, presentations are made and investors pick the top plan/business and a cash prize is awarded.
My role was to energize and inspire the students in this kick-off event. I talked about Approaches for Identifying and Creating Opportunities, focusing in particular on the creative approaches we teach here at Babson College. Predictive logic is rooted in rational, and linear methods, with known inputs and most likely results in incremental innovations with known business models. Creative logic is rooted in self-understanding, (who you are and what you know), who you know and is means driven. I walked through three different techniques—systematic search for opportunities, design thinking and ideation. I was able to tell a great story about Jill Cartwright (Babson MBA) and the steps she took to launch GoGagaLife (http://www.gogagalife.com). GoGaga designs and sells ergonomically designed bags and carriers for parents with babies and small children. Jill’s background and experience in retail, here self-understanding of her communication and presentation skills, use of her Babson network, and continuous experimentation and prototyping helped her to develop the unique features of her products, and to understand the market. I closed my talk with the inspiring video on entrepreneurs by the Grasshopper.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6MhAwQ64c0 .The students cheered and clapped at the end.
I was struck by the energy and enthusiasm of this group of students! Clearly entrepreneurship and creative thinking are alive and well in Trondheim.
Candida G. Brush, Professor of Entrepreneurship
Franklin W. Olin Chair in Entrepreneurship
Chair- Entrepreneurship Division
Director- Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship