I’ve always considered myself to be both an entrepreneur and an innovator; a change agent within my organization. Meaning, I like to be the guy who brings the new ideas and has the thought to start the organization down a different path. I’ve always thought of innovation as being a high achiever, having the need to perform well and receive positive feedback. However, after reading some commentary, I have a little different understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation. Hunter (2012) suggest that high performance isn’t a trait that is specific to an entrepreneur. In fact, he went on to report that there are very few characteristics that set an entrepreneur apart from any other person.
Entrepreneurship has been defined as the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled (Eisenmann, 2010). Breaking that down by each word and/or phrase helps give context:
- Pursuit: It’s an action of going after something.
- Opportunity: Implies that something is there for the taking.
- Beyond resourced controlled: Indicates there are constraints on the current resources.
In contrast, an innovator is someone who is typically thought of as being first; this would include being first to market with a product or the first to implement a new process. While I’ve typically associated these two concepts into one, they are different from one another. Just because I’m pursuing an opportunity doesn’t imply that I’m going to be (or need to be) first to market. Entrepreneurship and innovation are distinctly different.
As I continue to grow my influence as a change agent, it’s important to note that characteristics of both entrepreneurship and innovation can aid in a change agent role. An individual’s ability to connect with and influence an organization with an entrepreneurial concept or an innovative idea is closely tied to the culture in which they work (Couros, 2013). Combining these three concepts into a working model that fits your organization’s culture will allow the most forward moment.
Couros, G. (2013, January, 26). 5 characteristics of a change agent [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3615
Eisenmann, T. (2013, January, 10). Entrepreneurship: A working definition. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/01/what-is-entrepreneurship
Hunter, M. (2012). On some of the misconceptions about entrepreneurship. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, 7(2), 55-104.