By Maria Collar, SIOP Blogger
In a world characterized by fluidic changes and intense transformation, unreasonable innovators are exactly needed to propel the creation of multidimensional value. According to George Bernard Shaw, as quoted in The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, entrepreneurs are unreasonable innovators in that "the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (Elkington & Hartigan, 2008).
Undoubtedly, when it comes to entrepreneurship there is no standard definition. Many consider entrepreneurship to be a measurement of the value created by the resourceful, innovative, and practical solutions to problems. Others define it by the entrepreneur’s ability to leverage business models. Regardless, it can surely be agreed that successful entrepreneurs are “genetically” engineered to lead strategically with strategies that redefine the industry. As a group, entrepreneurs share the common characteristics of an opportunistic, radical and unyielding determination to double or even triple the bottom line.
Given that successful entrepreneurs are seen as highly ultra-sensitive barometers with the unique capability to fluently detect, interpret, and translate needs from the market into new behavioral responses ahead of demand, what exactly makes them unreasonable?
Well, successful entrepreneurs are unreasonable because:
- They are crazy like the proverbial fox. Successful entrepreneurs are disruptive innovators driven by the passion of expanding business in the unlikeliest places.
- They want to change the system. Successful entrepreneurs can identify dysfunction in the system on the drop of a hat and, unlike reasonable people who try to adapt to the system, they try to make the system adapt to them.
- They are insanely ambitious. Successful entrepreneurs, frustrated by won’t-do people, are can-do thinkers with an ambitious plan to achieve far greater benefits than a mere goal.
- They are propelled by emotion. Successful entrepreneurs are passionately driven by a life-transforming experience which launched them onto pursuing their mission.
- They see profit in unprofitable places. When it comes to creating value, successful entrepreneurs are fueled by an “ideal” solution not by making a “deal”.
- They tend to ignore the evident. Successful entrepreneurs are more interested in creating long-term sustainable solutions than in avoiding the obvious looming risks.
- They are opportunistically unqualified. Successful entrepreneurs unearth opportunities in ill-defined and unexplored areas when they least expected it.
Elkington, J., & Hartigan, P. (2008). The power of unreasonable people: How social entrepreneurs create markets that change the world. Boston: Harvard Business Press.