What I learned at the biggest entrepreneurship conference of The Netherlands

For the past two days (22/11 & 23/11), I’ve been listening to keynote speeches and personal growth stories at the marvellous Dutch entrepreneurship conference ‘Week van de Ondernemer’. Though I...

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November 24, 2017
Strategy

Survival of the clueless

If our system is broken, then WE have to change first. Not our surroundings. It’s not the customer that has to change. It’s our companies. It’s not the planet that has to be ‘fixed’, it’s how we treat it. It’s not AI and robots that need too be stopped. It’s how we learn, how we work and ultimately, how we plan to stay relevant and survive as a species. And that is a very uncomfortable truth. One which a lot of us prefer to ignore.

"You can’t count on experience if you are innovating with a brand-new concept."

That’s why we desperately need nexxworks Partner & “Week van de Ondernemer’ keynoter Peter Hinssen’s 1% in our companies: that precious 1% of people who don’t know what they are doing. Counterintuitively as that sounds, it makes perfect sense. Start-ups consist of 99% of people who don’t know what they are doing because they are building something that has never been done before. You can’t count on experience if you are innovating with a brand-new concept. As companies grow, that number of people shrinks. That’s why big corporations tend to be mostly filled with employees who know exactly what they are doing: they calculate product-market fit, check quality control, install management layers, hire an experienced sales force. These people are there to scale. Not to invent. Or to re-invent. And that’s fine.

But the ones that are crucial for the future of the company, for its relevance in the coming years, are the “clueless” ones. They should be protected from the other 99%, who are much more riks-averse and focussed on revenue instead of growth and change. These "clueless" creatives are the ones who understand that the centre is shifting. Unlike the most of us, they are not uncomfortable in this type of unstable and uncertain environment. They thrive in it. Even better, they are the ones that are shaping it. The intrapreneurs. The entrepreneurs. The builders. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”*

* From the Apple ‘Think Different’ Campaign.

WRITTEN BY
Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications and disruptive innovation. Passionately curious, she is fascinated by the impact of technology and science on the way we work, consume and live our lives.
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November 24, 2017
Strategy