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Before entrepreneurship, there needs to be an idea. Creativity is the definition of something new and valuable (at least to someone). This is commonly referred to as an idea.
Earlier I mentioned juggling as a metaphor for entrepreneurship. So we now come to the first thing that needs to be juggled. The idea.
So where can your idea come from? The simple answer is that your idea can come from anywhere. Maybe it‘s something you thought of yourself. Or maybe something you heard in the street or read about sparked the idea.
Whether you‘re looking to come up with your own idea or to leverage insights you gained from somewhere else to come up with an idea, what you need is personal creativity.
So what does a creative person do? The creative person doesn‘t focus on what is currently popular and everyone is buying. Instead the creative person comes up with a fresh idea and promotes it. If all goes well, people recognize the idea‘s value and it becomes something that is currently popular and everyone is buying.
Creative persons have some key competences:
The first is synthesis – the ability to see problems in new ways and see possible new combinations of things. For example you could think about what would your idea look like to a dog. Combining seemingly unrelated things in novel ways is a great way to come up with new ideas. For example, if you had 4 matches, a tennis ball, a paper clip, a juice carton and a pencil – what kind of mode of transportation could you create?
The second is analysis – the ability to evaluate an idea critically and to recognize that just because an idea is new doesn‘t mean it‘s good. The outcome of the idea must have value. The „Six Thinking Hats“ method developed by Edward de Bono is an interesting way to evaluate ideas.
The third is communication – the ability to effectively present an idea to others. This is sometimes referred to as pitching or selling and we will spend some time specifically on this later in the course.
Creativity is hard work. It‘s usually a process of trial-and-error rather than an „aha“ moment. Did you know that YouTube started out as an online dating site? There‘s a lot of trial-and-error that went into getting YouTube where it is now.
This is why entrepreneurs have to keep their idea moving and expect it to change, again and again.
There are some classic obstacles to creativity.
First of all, it‘s easy for people to talk about creativity, but then they don‘t do anything about it.
Second, people are afraid of change and a new idea requires change.
Third, creativity tends to be undervalued. A creative person is very often viewed as irrational or even stupid.
Hopefully, you will eventually come up with one or more new ideas that could form the seed for entrepreneurship. Don‘t worry, as the course progresses your idea will evolve, so don‘t sweat the details.