I know how innovation works and I’ve done it successfully in both small and large companies. I am Mikael Fuhr and teach in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program at DIS Copenhagen. These are my five lessons on how to become an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur.
1. You don’t become an entrepreneur by reading books and writing papers. You will learn how to create a startup by creating one! You need to feel the thrill of success and the frustration of failure in your body. You need to find the drive to get back on the horse after a mistake. Because that’s exactly what entrepreneurs do.
In the Innovation & Entrepreneurship course, get your hands dirty and build startups. Not theoretical, but real. You will be coached through the individual steps and after four months you will present your full startup to a group of serial entrepreneurs and investors! Does it sound creepy? Hundreds and hundreds of students have now been trained throughout the semester: they are all proud to be three times bigger on this last day after receiving open feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. Experts who speak to them not as students but as co-entrepreneurs.
The course is a Incubator program (google the word): highly structured, full of tools and methods, with me as your coach. And of course, a variety of Danish, Swedish and German entrepreneurs and investors meet with you to share how they do it.
2nd People think building a business is about getting a great idea. But brilliant ideas start by identifying significant problems. In fact, the main reason why startups fail (and 90% do) is that they build something that nobody needs. You have an idea, but the underlying problem doesn’t really exist … except in your mind. Avoid this mistake by constantly testing your assumptions and ideas. It’s better to learn early that you’re wrong than after two years of hard work, right?
3rd Guess what! You don’t have to start a startup just because you’ve learned the ropes of entrepreneurship: A valuable aspect of entrepreneurship is that you learn to recognize opportunities, develop solutions and validate them continuously. These skills are also very important when working in an established company, which is exactly what intrapreneurs do.
I mention this because students often come to me and almost apologize for not being sure if they want to start a business at some point. You just heard it Entrepreneurship mentioned everywhere and wanted to know more about this universe. Then I congratulate them on their constructive thinking and assure them that they have chosen the right course. What you learn is useful wherever innovation is required!
4th Innovation is a challenge and there are more failures than successes. But while nobody wants mistakes, they are often where you learn the most.
This attitude has become essential to me and the key to it Lean startup (google that too): The classroom is a space where mistakes, doubts and wild ideas can be safely shared. You can mutually act as your most trusted advisor to test uncertain assumptions and fragile ideas from day one. Because becoming an entrepreneur requires courage, energy, openness, creativity … and more. What I Not I think it takes a certain university degree: there is no indication that people with a business background or finance, engineering, psychology or design do better than entrepreneurs. However, what is clear is that to have a team with diverse skills and backgrounds put you on the road to success. Let this be my last lesson …
5. Your idea is nothing without the right team to develop and implement it. A strong team culture is your best idea. Team before product!
Mikael Fuhr has more than twenty years of experience in the fields of design management, innovation, communication and leadership. From 1998 to 1999 he was design manager and project manager at DSB – Danish State Railways, head of the Design Vision Lab at DSB, director of design at DSB and founding partner at FUHR, 2011. Mikael has been with DIS since 2013.
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