Thursday, October 31, 2013

World Entrepreneurship Forum - Day 1

Singapore!!!! October 30, 2013

The World Entrepreneurship Forum opens in a few hours for nearly 3 days of discussions and 'think tank' activity around growing entrepreneurial ecosystems. This year's theme is timely: Sustainability. (Can you actually identify sustainable opportunities without deeply engaging the entrepreneurial mindset? That's one thing that inspired me about WEF -- they and their members really get it, that you can't have a great entrepreneurial ecosystem without community members having great entrepreneurial mindsets. And a great entrepreneurial ecosystem fosters and supports great entrepreneurial thinking... and does it actively!)

The WEF delegates come from every corner of the world, mostly entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs (not that WEF makes any more distinction between them than I do). Mix in a rich variety of policy makers and some media wizards and a tiny handful of eggheads ;) and… who knows?

Got here in the wee hours - remarkable airport and $9 shuttle to the posh Grand Copthorne on the Singapore River. Delta upgraded me PDX to NRT so I wasn't completely brain-fried. This is a marvelous city, another destination where it will be difficult to leave. (Any Singapore universities need a veteran entrepreneurship educator/researcher? :)

The "Who" of WEF
Not sure who will be here from 2012 - but there are some I am fervently hoping for! A newcomer who I scammed into coming is Icelander Eythor Ivar Jonsson who typifies the kind of talent that WEF attracts: Has built incubators & seed forums [] and is active in the Global Accelerator Network where I hope he is still working to gather data [hint, hint, Thor!] He and I share a keen interest in studying more rigorously the question of how deep entrepreneurial mindsets can be encouraged! On top of all that, my CD player still has his debut music album.

I might be overly fond of the "residual clamiant" model of entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurial function is to create and allocate economic and noneconomic rents across multiple stakeholders... and keep what's left over. If I can create genuine value for customers/clients, suppliers, employees and neighbors and not go broke... that requires a very different way of looking at the world. This is not an optimization problem, it's a *design* problem.

Now imagine the stakes getting raised for any organization by invoking the triple bottom line - to be sustainable, environmentally, socially AND economically and be able to do that dynamically over an extended period of time? You need great entrepreneurial minds that are already 'bent' in the direction of designing opportunities that move us forward.

I look forward to a few days of seeing what smart, passionate people from an insane variety of backgrounds can come up with. (I am also looking forward to my Saturday am "master class" on ecosystem building. We had a breakthrough last year on this, led by Jeannie Javelosa and Peter Vogel and a great 2012 team. I look forward to raising the bar in 2013 with a workshop where participants will leave with concrete action items for building their own startup communities. (And, yes, there will be much Feld-ian Fun to be had this week!)

After seeing the ecosystem-building power that is arising mightily in the US community college system at the NACCE conference and then seeing how we are finally learning how to really grow entrepreneurial mindsets via the Kauffman Foundation-backed Ice House training... how can we at WEF move this needle even farther?

More tomorrow! [But tell me what YOU want to hear, ok?]


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