Archive for September, 2011

There Really Are No New Ideas In the World

Posted: September 25, 2011 by Joseph Carter in Innovation, Startup

There Really Are No New Ideas In the World

How do entrepreneurs create ideas for successful new business ventures?  Were they born with some special component within their DNA that enables them to be more creative and resourceful than others?  John Kord Murray, an aerospace engineer that founded multiple new ventures and later became the head of innovation at Intuit, says no.  He asserts that the ability to be creative is a learned process and that “anyone can master it in order to build successful business innovations.” In his book, Borrowing Brilliance, The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others, he outlines the process that anyone can use to create new business opportunities.   Below is a brief overview of the concepts outlined in Murray’s book.  It is my hope that you consider becoming more familiar with Murray’s process as a means to create and launch new business ventures in our region.

Defining.  Define the problem you are trying to solve.  “A problem is the foundation of a creative idea”. Successful entrepreneurs (both for-profit and not-for-profit entrepreneurs) are effective at identifying, prioritizing, and solving problems that are important to current and / or future targeted customers.   When they focus on a problem they do so realizing that problems have multiple layers of causes.  They dig to find the “root-cause” to the problem they are focusing on because they realize this is where a potential business idea will surface.   To identify the specific root-cause to a problem they simply ask, “Why”?  Murray indicates that answering the question of “Why?” five times surfaces the root cause to almost any problem.


Startup DNA

Posted: September 18, 2011 by John Clarkin in Innovation, People, Startup

What makes entrepreneurs different from other people?  Is it some character trait (or flaw)?  Is it something related to behavior, or is it how they think?  These are questions that have been asked countless times in surveys conducted throughout the world.  Imagine for a moment that we could get a sample of 100 million people, locate those that founded companies over the past 10 years, and explore elements of their backgrounds such as their age, where they live, where they worked, and where they were educated.  That’s exactly what Monica Rogati did.

 Rogati is a Senior Data Analyst at LinkedIn, and she presented the findings of her “Sequencing the Startup DNA” study at Startup Fest 2011 in Montreal in July.  The study revealed some interesting patterns in the education, experience, and threads that link the careers of more than 13,000 entrepreneurs.  Although some of the findings were not surprising, such as the disproportionate amount of startup activity in California and Massachusetts, some results reveal interesting differences from earlier studies of entrepreneurs.


Remembering 9/11

Posted: September 11, 2011 by Chuck Matthews in People

Just about everyone born before 1987, remembers what he or she was doing on September 11, 2001.  For literally millions of small business owners across the country, time would seem to stand still that day as the horrific news made its way from New York, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA.

Just another business day…

Like so many that fateful morning, I was going about my morning business unaware of what was fully in store.  By 8 a.m., the dog had been walked, my wife had left for work and both of our daughters, then 11 and 14 were in school.  I was at home packing for a late morning flight to New York connecting on to Brussels for a meeting with colleagues and Board members of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).  I remember taking my suitcase out to the car and coming back in and turning on the television while I glanced at the paper and sent a couple of last minute emails confirming arrangements.  I had just made plans with a colleague from St. Louis University to take the train from Brugge, Belgium to Regansburg, Germany for part of Oktoberfest before flying home later that weekend.


What Business Are You In?

Posted: September 11, 2011 by Chuck Matthews in Planning, Startup

This column continues our theme of the importance and value of planning in small, entrepreneurial and family ventures.  Entrepreneurship is the engine of our economy and innovation is its fuel.  It does not happen by accident, but requires planning.  Ultimately, it is the combination of a little planning, a little strategy, and a little luck that rules the day.  Of course, the more you do of the first two, the better your luck will be.

Getting started…

Entrepreneurship continues to emerge as a multi-faceted, complex, social and economic activity.  While it is fueled by creativity and innovation, it must also include a business value proposition. It is the business plan that clarifies the value added and addresses how an idea develops into either a small business or high growth scalable venture.  This includes strong leadership from the founder or co-founders, which balances opportunity, resources, and team; and sets the stage to “chase” the opportunity.


Ecosystem Page 2

Posted: September 3, 2011 by Bill Cunningham in Innovation, People, Planning, Startup, Technology

Last week’s column discussed four of the nine puzzle pieces that make up the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem Universities, government, venture capital and angel investors represent a lot of activity. CincyTech touches all of the pieces and more. As an Entrepreneurial Signature Program of the Ohio Third Frontier, CincyTech invests in high-tech startup companies in the seven counties of Southwest Ohio. CincyTech so far has funded 27 startups and provided 33 grants to entrepreneurs, in partnership with angel, venture capital and private investors.  I’ll cover more of the Third Frontier benefits in a future column as it deserves more than a paragraph.

Defining incubation as “Maintaining (eggs, organisms, or living tissue) at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development” makes our region most excellent. Starting with the Hamilton County Business Center (founded in 1983), HCBC has graduated over 110 companies and the SBA loan arm has funded over 1,000 businesses. Across the river, the Northern Kentucky e-Zone has recruited and mentored more than 100 businesses since starting in 2001 and enabled them to raise over $53 million. BioStart – a life science incubator that is currently moving from a landlord model to a service model – offers startup help to the healthcare and science community. The Brandery, now affiliated with TechStars, commenced operations with its second class of 9 new high growth, high-tech companies in new digs at 1425 Vine Street in Over-The-Rhine.