Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Entrepreneurship and Creativity Theoretical Learning Experience

Few weeks ago I promised my friends to share our study experience in University of Nottingham (UoN). It is definitely a whole different study experience for me here compared to my previous ones. I don't know if it's just my mood, the cultures that shapes the people's personality and way of thinking, the study environment, or the lecturers who are very great at delivering their modules. But for sure, It just takes me to another new level! Kinda funny because somehow it always drives my excitement to wake up in the morning to receive new knowledge. When things are really exciting and steal my focus, I barely jump into my phone. It's an excellent indication I supposed. Except for the part when I don't have enough sleep at night and get very sleepy in the class. LOL. But I can tackle this issue very easily. Thanks for the nearby coffee shop for making me befriends with coffee. XD

My main purpose of writing this is to share my study experience in Entrepreneurship and Creativity module. It is the first module taught in autumn semester. In my opinion, it was indeed a very important yet interesting module for me to deepen my basic understanding about entrepreneurship and creativity. In this module, we were given 2 assignments. The first one is individual reflective essay writing which basically asks us to evaluate all the things that have been taught in the class, including the theoretical and practical knowledge, frameworks used to deliver the knowledge, group work experience, etc. Meanwhile the second assignment is group assignment which allows us to implement all the theoretical learning experience into practice. It's kinda similar with group business challenge. However, this post will firstly cover my personal understanding of entrepreneurship and creativity in regards with my study experience in class, some reading materials and various entrepreneurship talks.
A little glimpse of my current artworks and some reading materials

The first class of this module was started with an introduction about entrepreneurship. We were asked to list down our own definition of entrepreneurship. Some mentioned about characteristics and skills needed by an entrepreneur like risk taker, problem solver, adaptive, opportunistic, proactive, and so on. All of these are actually very critical to becoming a successful entrepreneur. There are variant definitions of entrepreneurship described by the scholars depending on the time period (because entrepreneurship has been gradually developed since the establishment of agriculture era until now). In a nutshell, entrepreneurship is defined as a process practiced by a person by discovering opportunities. Unlike the normal people, entrepreneurs take opportunities into different level. Entrepreneur is interpreted as a person who is alert to the market opportunity and come up with creative ideas and then turn them into business. However it is very important for an entrepreneur to exercise entrepreneurial skills in order to gain maximum profit.

I was very fascinated by the theory of intellectual capital introduced by my lecturer. It consists of human capital, social capital, and organizational capital. The effectiveness of a business’ organizational management is depending on maximizing the use of them. Human capital is the knowledge and skills (intangible assets) of an entrepreneur which has big potential to exploit financial capital (the tangible assets). Development of human capital increases the capability of a business to generate profit. As an entrepreneur, sometimes I worry if my entrepreneurial skills is very lacking to develop my ideas and business. In fact, it is not the only thing I should think of. We should not forget the significance of human interaction in the social life, because networking is also very crucial to our business. Social capital enables human capital to realize its potential, besides it also helps entrepreneurs to generate conducive market environment and widen their market coverage. OK, now it starts to sound very serious haha.

To be honest, I am always enthusiastic to learn about human psychology. And this module somehow drives me even more crazily. Do you know that everyone has different nature on processing knowledge and solving a problem? Since we were given a group project (business challenge assignment), we should be divided into groups. In the group formation process, Mr. Chris Mahon divided us into groups based on the result of Human Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) test. It's some kinda psychological instrument used to identify our thinking preference. By taking this test, I get to know what my profile is and what skills I need to enhance in regards with entrepreneurship. In the group, we all have different HBDI profiles, however this diversity helps us to comprehend each other's strengths and weaknesses. I was in the group with people whom I got to learn a lot from. Each of them has unique personality, education background and professional experience. I even learned how to embrace multiculturalism in this short period of time. How cool that is! :) 

In term of defining creativity, people also have different way of defining it. In simple term, creativity is the process of bringing up ideas into use. According to Mark A. Runco, it is correlated with intelligence, imagination, originality, and effectiveness. Intelligence encourages a person’s creativity. Due to the concept of radical innovation, originality plays huge contribution and hard to separate from creativity because creative things are always original. Moreover, original things must be effective to be creative. It takes the form of usefulness in an innovation. This effectiveness must also consider the fact that valuable products and ideas depending on what the market needs.

In accordance with radical innovation, we often discussed about Joseph Schumpeter's idea of radical innovation in the class. He appeared with an extraordinary theory of entrepreneurship. He pointed out the significant role of entrepreneurs in economic development and the emergence of radical innovation as creative destruction. Schumpeter also defined entrepreneur as an innovator who brings radical changes through the introduction of new technological process or product. He valued the novelty of an innovation as genuine outcome of radical innovation. If it’s hard for you to get the meaning of radical innovation, we can take an example of the emergence of Media Player (as if MP3) which totally replaced the used of Compact Disc (CD). This technology is considered very radical since it provides a whole different experience of listening to music compare to CD. It also changed the culture of people listening to music. The originality of this radical innovation enables us to add as many music collections as we want in the form of soft files (this easiness is original and never existed before). Therefore we don't have to worry carrying a lot of CDs to listen to variant songs. 

The emergence of radical innovation is a result of lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is almost the same with the concept of thinking out of the box. As a decision maker, entrepreneurs are required to see things from different angles. Besides, it allows us to be flexible and explorative by solving problems with different perceptions, patterns, and methods. I found the concept of lateral thinking is similar with divergent thinking which involves generating multiple alternative solutions and unexpected combinations. Divergent thinking is very important because of its tendency to produce novel ideas. Meanwhile convergent thinking is more oriented to single best answer, emphasize on the accurancy, speed and logic. 

I recently read a book entitled “Oh My Goodness: A Personal Guide to become Creative Junkies” written by Indonesian author, Yoris Sebastian. I can’t give full review to this book because I haven’t finished reading it. At my first glance, I can tell that this book is like one of those anti-mainstream books (it’s written in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, plus the design is simply fresh yet eye catchy). It helps us to brainstorm and enhance our creativity. I found some similarities from how he elaborated things in his book with what I learn in campus, especially the part where he encouraged the reader to “Push the Limit”. Mr. Chris Mahon mentioned this phrase several times in class. One of the best quotes I get inspired from to realize it in my real life. Ah, can’t wait to finish reading this book. For my Indonesian friends, I suggest you to read the english version of this book. Don’t worry about the language, because it’s easy to understand. I bet you’ll learn a lot, hehe. KEEP PUSHING YOUR LIMIT!! 

Another important aspect in entrepreneurship that I want to highlight here is opportunity recognition. What makes entrepreneurs different is the ability to recognize the gap occurred in our surroundings, inspect the behaviour within many factors (economy, social, political,  technological advances, etc.). As problem solvers, entrepreneurs tend to see problems in their society as their opportunities by providing the solutions. That’s why entrepreneurs are seen to be the key of economic development. Besides creating job opportunities to a lot of people, entrepreneurs encourage the establishment of innovations used to ease our life.  

So, that’s some bits of my learning experience. It’s an absolute recommendation for you to learn from other resources like read a lot of inspiring books, watch several motivational talks from the internet, and/or come to entrepreneurship seminars/conference to enrich your knowledge. Mark Wright (The Apprentice winner), who is a dyslexic once said “If you wanna earn more, you’ve got to learn more. When people leave formal education, on average they read one book for the rest of their life. While the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies on average read one book per week”. Despite of his learning difficulties, Mark does not stop pursuing his dreams and keep learning by listening to audio books in any chance that he can get. Here is a bonus for you all, a (half) documentation of his talk during Nottingham Entrepreneurs Conference.

Special credits to my lecturers; Mr. Chris Mahon, MBA, Dr. Chris Carter, Prof Simon Mosey, and Mr. Paul Kirkham

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