I’ve been talking to a lot of people about entrepreneurship in the context of how do I define entrepreneurship and what makes me an entrepreneur. The conversations inspired me to think of how I would visually represent the characteristics of the next generation entrepreneur. (Visualizations inspired by what I learned from Ole at Bigger Picture!)
Deep listener. Entrepreneurs have always needed to have good listening skills; that’s the only way you can sense what is happening around you to identify new market niches. The ability of entrepreneurs to really listen to what’s happening in the world, not just in human society, but also in the interaction of humanity with nature is what we most need now.
Resilient. Imagine that you are a sponge that has been soaked with oil. When you’re submerged in water, some comes in, but your center stays consistent. It is this resiliency that entrepreneurs need; staying authentic to who they are and what they believe, yet open to listen, learn, understand and challenge themselves without going completely out of balance.
Imagination. It’s not enough to see what is happening and identify solutions; the world is changing so rapidly that entrepreneurs need to be asking, what can the future also bring? On the basis of the emerging future, entrepreneurs can design solutions at the edge of the world’s needs.
Interconnected innovators and investors. Next generation entrepreneurs act in an interconnected manner in several realms. They work effectively in teams and can collaborate with networks of individuals to collectively bring new products/services to market. They also have the humility to search and see if their idea (or a part of it) already exists in the world and if they find it, figure out first how to collaborate rather than compete. These entrepreneurs find great ideas and focus on getting the remaining required resources needed to bring that idea to life. They drive innovation because they can synthesize and integrate things that already exist in different ways.
The world needs entrepreneurs that don’t just have one or two of these characteristics; they need to have all of them. It is the interconnection and co-existence of these characteristics that will enable next generation entrepreneurs to drive the massive scale innovation the world needs.