I’m now on my final study module of the MBA before starting my final project, this time focusing on an entrepreneurial endeavour. As part of this we have to take part in a New Venture Creation Challenge.
This is a group challenge, requiring us to come up with ideas, assess the likelihood of success and making proposals, all while applying entrepreneurial theory. We don’t actually have to deliver a product or service, it’s more about the process of selecting a venture and developing a proposal.
We’re also asked to keep a diary of our experiences. This is mine.
Week 1 – meeting the team and coming up with ideas
We’ve been placed into groups of 6. We start off a little slow as we seek input from peers we don’t know, never met, and as we’re working remotely, will probably never meet face-to-face.
I’m actually pretty apprehensive about the challenge for several reasons:
- I quite like studying on my own, it’s sort of become a hobby.
- I tend to spend too much time at work (as opposed to studying). The thought of having other people rely on me to deliver when my mind is focused elsewhere (job, not to mention preparing to start a new role, moving home, and supporting a social life currently on life-support) is concerning.
- I don’t think of myself as a particularly creative thinker when it comes to business opportunities. Maybe that’s a hangover from being a public sector employee all my life (and also why I selected this module, to push my comfort zones)
To start off, I’m late to the party and even cause our first online meeting to be cancelled because of work unexpected work commitments. I catch up on emails and there’s already a bunch of suggested venture ideas; most of which are really quite imaginative.
Eager to show I’m involved I get stuck in. The process feels a little artificial; coming up with ideas before assessing the industry environment feels like throwing darts at a target while wearing a blindfold – and a tad premature. What’s the point of coming up with ideas if you don’t know if they will sell? Where do opportunities lie? Where do you find ideas that might work? That’s probably a result of the Corporate Strategy module peering through.
I feel myself wanting to take a good look at what’s going on in the world and markets before trying to be creative. I think of Porter’s Four Forces of Entrepreneurial Opportunity (1979) (below) and feel my uncreative mind dig it heels in.
Then I let go. I realise that there’s little point in being so academic. Even if I could identify market opportunities and relevant new technologies, how would I be able to dream up innovative venture ideas from such a narrow set of options?
So I decided to just throw ideas down and I actually surprised myself. I deliberately avoided employment related ideas and came up with 2 reasonably realistic options (well, I think) and one super crazy idea. The stupid one was a Space Hopper crossed with a Segway. I don’t have the faintest idea how to make something like that, but I would definitely want one!
Anyway, I digress… So we now have16 suggestions (none quite as crazy as the above AMAZE-BALLS). The next phase is to pick one. We’re all going to use an unscientific but very democratic system of selecting our venture choice – select three favourite and give them 1, 2, or 3 points (3 being the highest). The idea with the most points wins!
I’ll let you know how it goes…
I am quite interested to see how the group gels. It appears we have a good bunch (as you would this far into an MBA course). One thing several of us have in common is that we don’t think of ourselves as particularly entrepreneurial or creative. Most of us need to think creatively and be at innovative at work and we’re all constantly challenged by demands, whether internal or externally driven. It will be interesting to see where these skills take us.
Other articles in this series of entrepreneurial theory in practice
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 1 – Creativity and Opportunity Theory
Stage one in the New Venture Challenge – Establishing a team and idea generation
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 2 – Opportunity Theory in Practice
Identifying the opportunity
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 3 – Applying the Opportunity Business Model
Assessing the opportunity through theory
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 4 – Delivering the Elevator Pitch
Creating interest in the opportunity
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 5 – Building the Business Case
Meaning business – turning your proposal into a viable business case
- Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 6 – Delivering the Pitch
Selling the proposal to those that matter – those with the money and power to make it happen
- Porter, M. E. 1979. How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, Boston 57, no. 2.