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Innovation Is The Dance Of Life

  • Written by By BASIL SPRINGER
  • Published in Opinion
"Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in you."" - Psalm 87:7 - The renowned management guru Peter F. Drucker, writing in the Harvard Business Review in 1998, had this to say about The Discipline of Innovation: "Despite much discussion these days of the 'entrepreneurial personality' few of the entrepreneurs with whom I have worked during the last 30 years had such personalities. But I have known many people - salespeople, surgeons, journalists, scholars, even musicians - who did have them without being the least bit 'entrepreneurial'.

"What all the successful entrepreneurs I have met have in common is not a certain kind of  personality but a commitment to the systematic practice of innovation. Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship, whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual in the family kitchen. It is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.

"Today, much confusion exists about the proper definition of entrepreneurship. Some observers use the term to refer to all small businesses; others, to all new businesses. In practice, however, a great many well-established businesses engage in highly successful entrepreneurship. The term, then, refers not to an enterprise's size or age but to a certain kind of activity. At the heart of that activity is innovation: the effort to create purposeful, focused change in an enterprise's economic or social potential."

Innovation therefore may be described as the dance of life as we follow a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music which is in harmony with an entrepreneur's dream.

On Saturday, Blue Waters Productions Inc., producers of the Barbados Reality TV Series 'Bank on ME'  in partnership with the Human Resource Development Strategy Unit of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, hosted a one-day workshop on "Strategies for Entrepreneurial Success", focusing on various key success factors for new and experienced entrepreneurs.

I made a presentation on Innovation and the ManOBiz Matrix. I shared seven snippets of innovation information to a diversified audience of entrepreneurs eager to absorb any counsel which would assist their business development efforts.

(1) Henry Chesbrough, in his book "Open Innovation" (2003), defined Open Innovation as follows: "Open Innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology. Open Innovation combines internal and external ideas into architectures and systems whose requirements are defined by a business model."

(2) Dr. Owen Carryl of Open Innovation Services in the United States states: "To understand what is 'Open Innovation', one needs to understand what is 'Closed Innovation'.  'Closed Innovation' is the traditional model companies use to develop new products and services. In this paradigm, the company hires all of the needed expertise and buys all of the equipment needed to develop new products. In the 'Open Innovation' model, companies leverage the skills, capabilities, technologies and markets of external partners to grow their business and they out-license their technologies, creating additional streams of revenue."

(3) Intra-preneurship, which is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization, may be classified as closed innovation.

(4) I am a member of an international team consisting of the disciplines of Food Design (Brazil/Mexico), Open Innovation (Guyana/US), Communication (TT/Barbados/US) and Shepherding - Life coaching and business mentoring (Barbados/TT) which has designed and is promoting "The Caribbean Food 2020 - Business Innovation Revolution." In this project we  believe that the Caribbean can inspire the world using the food business as a example. In the same way we use nautical maps to discover new destinations, we want to reach new global food experience frontiers for the Caribbean. This is an example of open innovation which the team plans to launch in the Caribbean in early in 2015.

(5) The CBET Shepherding Model is an innovation which addresses the selection of enterprises with the "DNA of an Elephant", the mitigation of the business failure rate for start-ups and how to establish a quick response seed/equity fund to meet the investment finance needs for new businesses. This model is under consideration in Barbados and Trinidad.

(6) The ManOBiz Matrix is an innovative Shepherding tool which systematically addresses the steps needed for the evolution of a business through the management of its business systems as it pursues the journey to sustainable business success.

(7) Bank on ME - "the reality TV show that means business" - is more than a television show since it develops entrepreneurs through several months of mentorship, business training modules, networking and media exposure while presenting access to a wide range of financing opportunities, and actually secures finance.

The show was very successfully launched last year (six 30-minute episodes) in Barbados by Blue Waters Productions Inc. with the support of a commercial bank, the Caribbean Export Development Agency and a number of public and private sector organizations which are committed to entrepreneurial development.  A second season is currently in production in Barbados, due to be aired early in 2015, since Bank on ME has been both popular and acclaimed for its innovative, transformative impact on the entrepreneurial landscape. The producers are pursuing similar partnerships to launch a local edition in Trinidad and Tobago in the new year.

Let us all play our unique parts as we match the speed and rhythm of the music which is in harmony with an entrepreneur's dream.

Happy 48th independence anniversary to all Barbadians!

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. - CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)