Teaching failure

Seth Godin has a thought!  Joking—he’s got plenty of thoughts.  This one was particularly interesting because it poked a sore spot in me about teaching innovation and entrepreneurship: The difference between a failure and a mistake.  He makes a useful distinction that, even if it’s not going to change Webster’s definitions, should change how we talk about and teach innovation.

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An (innovation) revolution in our midst

The fields of innovation and entrepreneurship are undergoing a revolution of sorts.  We are slowly and inexorably recognizing that our obsession with ideas—how to have them or how to buy them—fails to explain how breakthroughs actually happen.  It's no longer easy to believe that a single idea drove Apple's iPod (which in a decade has become its biggest business) or Edison's lightbulb when we consider the dozens of other companies who were already selling those same ideas in the market when their proverbial and literal light bulbs went off.  As with any scientific revolution (and conveniently self-referential), it's not a single idea that drives the revolution but rather a subtle accumulation of similarly new ideas from different sources.  In this case, the revolutions is about the role of entrepreneurship, of action and experimentation, in making breakthroughs happen.

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The Irony Bowl, III: Putting the burden for change where it belongs

Following on my recent posts regarding the hypocrosies of college football (The Irony Bowl, and Irony Bowl II), a very nice article by Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post was brought to my attention today, On eve of BCS championship, a call for the NCAA to reform college football.  Jenkins very nicely puts the burden for change squarely where it rests: on the shoulders of the University Presidents and Chancellors. The academic leaders sit in oversight of both the de facto governing body for intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA, and of their own individual athletic departments.

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Commitment and the Entrepreneurial Leap

Entrepreneurship requires commitment to overcome the many challenges involved in bringing a vision to reality. Blind commitment, on the other hand, guarantees that early mistakes will balloon into catastrophes; that warning signs will be ignored; and the best opportunities to pivot will be missed. When making the leap, managing your commitment is like walking a ridge where stumbles toward either side can bring disaster. 

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The Irony Bowl

Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, amid considerable hand-wringing over charges of theft and academic fraud during his short stay at the University of Florida, and his father's subsequent shopping of his talents to Mississippi State. The NCAA is a semi-voluntary institution that governs the organization of intercollegiate athletics.  Of particular importance is maintaining the sanctity (and dignity) of university sports and, particularly, the amateur status of its athletes.

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