Entrepreneuring is a 21st Century skill

If you were to offer to make staff more visionary, resilient, innovative, outcome-driven and collaborative, most organisations would bite your hand off. And yet so little development work is done in the area – with most training built to address hard skills gaps, rather than mindset gaps.
Great entrepreneurs have all the above traits, and we have learned a lot about cultivating these behaviours in the last six years through our work with nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs right across the UK, India and further afield. What is less well known is that within that time we have also helped 6,000 intrapreneurs (employees within, usually, large organisations) to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours.
This is increasingly important given the pace and complexity of the economic and technological environment. Reportedly, the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company is now, incredibly, just 15 years. In the education sector, universities are at risk of disruption from innovative start-ups, but also have a huge opportunity – as we are all living longer – with the growing need for lifelong learning. Local authorities and charities, facing squeezed government funding, are increasingly exploring and diversifying into social enterprise to enhance their sustainability.
What links all of these is that their team’s ability to adapt, innovate and reinvent is needed to survive and thrive day in day out. These are the 21st century skills that are becoming more important than the technical ability you have. How you think and respond is becoming more important than what you know.
Entrepreneurs are at their best in these complex and rapidly changing environments. They see opportunity where others only see risk, they take action to stay ahead of the innovation curve. It is this mindset that needs to permeate through larger organisations if they want to remain relevant over the next 10 years. Thinking and acting like an entrepreneur is now as vital in the workplace as it is in a start-up, and has shaped the next stage of Entrepreneurial Spark’s journey.
We have already delivered some incredible outcomes in this space at Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank and SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) and are in a number of advanced discussions across both the public and private sectors. Utilising our best kept secret we have the potential to fundamentally alter the way that corporates and large organisations approach innovation right across the world.
Part of our mission now is to create an army of skilled up and hungry intrapreneurs spanning multiple industries and sectors. If we can change the mindset of these people, they in turn will change the culture of their organisations, which in turn will change the world. There is boundless entrepreneurial potential within a workforce, they just need the spark and direction to ignite it.
What’s the best kept secret about an entrepreneurial mindset? Well, quite simply, the impact it can have in large organisations.

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