The Arab world is buzzing with talk of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.  I will be writing a series of blog entries on what I think it is going to take to create and build a long lasting entrepreneurial society/culture in the region. 

To start with and let me say it as straight as I can, entrepreneurship is not a policy nor is it an overnight sudden revelation and it certainly is not built into anyone’s DNA, country or individual, it is a result of a very deliberate long term set of  actions and initiatives that involves every stakeholder in society. From the home, to the school, to government, to the business community, and everything in between – all working in a seamless interactive open system that teaches, nurtures, finances, mentors, inspires and enables eager young and old passionate entrepreneurs who have ideas that they think will change the way things are done in any field including government. Entrepreneurship is not only a state of mind, it is also state of action. It is about doing, experimenting, questioning, failing, struggling, engaging and building. It is about creating value inside the organization and  inside society, that value can have social, or monetary impact, it can change the way we work, or the way we produce something, or deliver a public or a private service, and most importantly entrepreneurship is about people. People that have a stake in their society and feel they are invested in it -  it gives them the freedom to innovate and create, and they give it its culture and values system. This values ecosystem is one of openness, one that nurtures the free flow of information and knowledge, and is built on trust. Trust of the State in its people, and the people in their State. Trust between governor and the governed, trust between managers and subordinates, and trust between peers. 

I obviously have my own opinion on the matter , but I would like to do this in an interactive way, so please share with me your stories and experiences, share examples of what you have gone through to become an entrepreneur, and for sure tell me what you think needs to be done and why.

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  The Arab world is buzzing with talk of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.  I will be writing a series of blog entries on what I think it is going to take to create and build a long lasting entrepreneurial society/culture in the region.  To start with and let me say it as straight as I can, entrepreneurship is [...]

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  2. PK Gulati says:

    Fadi,

    This is an exceptional seed for a debate long needed in this region, where everyone has a reason to blame everyone else for the lack of trust – we need a movement to build trust and nurture the people who can actually deliver. First sort them out, then give them our full support to make success count. There is no reason for us being as good a cradle for entrepreneurship as any other.

    I had written about the conundrum in an article in Business 24×7, some similar thoughts… http://bit.ly/PKEnt02

    Waiting to read more,
    PK

  3. Huda says:

    One very important point that you have made is the basic requirement of trust.. “trust of the State in its people, and the people in their State… trust between governor and the governed”. Living in the UAE, we experience a lack of this trust.

    There is also very minimal support for entrepreneurs, freelancers, SMEs, etc.. starting from licensing departments, banks and such. Jordan encourages entrepreneurship through various competitions, role models, mentorship programmes. The UAE can benefit from the same.

  4. Zaidoun says:

    i just remembered when i was 8 or 9 years old back in my summer break, i took 2JD from big brother, went to small supermarket in our area, bought one big package of ice cream, then announced for all my friends and neighbors of the opening of the new ice cream shop in our backyard …i sold each scope for 15 piasters, add to it biscuit, and another fruit from our refrigerator :) it was really fun seeing people standing on long queue waiting for the icecream, then decided to take unused items from sisters and brothers and put it for sale..it was really fruitful summer break..
    Entrepreneurship from my side is to make a change in your area and city…
    Thank you … :)

  5. scarfacejo says:

    “Entrepreneurship is not only a state of mind, it is also state of action” Young entrep. need to focus on the state of action.

    In order to build a true entrepreneurial society we need entrepreneurship policy. Not to make it easier, we are in silicon valley when compared to the situation in Gaza, yaman, china and other places.

    but we need to spread entrepreneurship beyond the major cities and the privileged, and provide it to the underprivileged areas. In Jordan’s case we need to spread it our of amman, and to the rest of the country.

    Simple ideas like starting a business from your basement, starting a company for 1 dollar/JOD can be powerful motivators for people to start the state of action. I hear Jordan is close to achieving those policies. But we need people like you to speak out because govnt will listen.

    One thing for sure, they will not listen to a guy with a scar on his face.

    Would love to hear more about what you think in that regards and have a specific list of policies in that regards.

  6. Hazem Bawab says:

    in 2002 i started my first company in Jordan with the help of an existing company that believe in me. i started a service company that deals with something that was still not widely available in the country or the region which is CRM(Customer Relationship Management).

    I had one belief and i built my company on top of it. i believe that customers in the middle east will become more aware of the quality of service that companies provide. When i started My company(Called UBA) in 2002 everyone i know and respected thought that it will fail in the span of 2 years(when the initial capital is spent).

    They were right, by 2005 our loses were more than our initial capital and everything we worked for was going down in flames. i actually sold everything i own and increased capital in the company so it can survive 2005.

    Today we are a group of 3 companies and we have been profitable for the last three years :-)

    i think talal abu ghazaleh said this once in a meeting but i am not sure, but this statement is what kept me going in the darkest times. “an entrepreneur is someone that is not afraid to lose everything and start over again” once you let go of fear and believe in what you do, sky is the limit.

  7. Nadine says:

    I like the broad net you cast Fadi.

    Information and experience sharing are huge for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tapping into the situations, details of challenges, successes, and failures of others is important learning. It helps us refine our own and/or consider different views. This enables people to jump start where others left, or tangent off as soon as we see an open opp. Too much resources, energy and time is spent on starting from scratch coz such a culture is at infancy and like PK and Huda note, the trust factor is yet to be developed.

    Apprenticeship is another important process that helps cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit as it hones in skill/knowledge, connects with the real world, provides a safe way to learn while exposed. This helps build confidence – vital for thinking different, taking risks.

    Both require a belief in and pledge to an open attitude. Wide open.

  8. Majd says:

    I agree with all the comments listed above. I believe that our problem in the Arab country in ‎based on the lack of trust and creativity. We are a society that always tends to depend on ‎others, we never think out of the box and most of the time people don’t actually care what’s ‎happening and why or how I can make use of this opportunity and those who do fall in the ‎dilemma of beaurocracy, legal issues, and financing sources and again lose interest ! On the ‎other hand, We always trust foreigners yet we don’t trust each other ! any relationship is based ‎on trust, and an entrepreneur without being able to gain people’s trust will fall down, for instance, ‎the ice cream example; if people didn’t trust the young boy they would never bought it from him ‎‎! ‎

  9. Marwan Juma says:

    Thanks Fadi for great intro! Here is my two cents worth:

    1. We need a change of culture and that will only come with time! A culture that accepts failure, allows for mistakes to be committed and celebrates and encourages the entrepreneurial risk-taking spirit!

    2. We need to celebrate our successes in the hope that success does in fact becomes more contagious! Stories such as Aramex, Maktoob, Rubicon and many others are perfect examples for our younger generation to aspire to and to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that hard work and perseverance always pays off!

    3. We need to create the ecosystem as government where anyone with 1JD is able to establish a company and where protection from bankruptcy, similar to Chapter 11 in the US, is guaranteed!

    4. And last but not least it is about education, education, education! And it starts in our KGs and not later! We must continue to invest in our infrastructure, in the use of ICT as a transformation tool and most importantly in our teachers, who play a critical role in shaping our future generations!

  10. scarfacejo says:

    Dear Excellency Marwan Juma,

    A great way to create a culture of failure is for the government to create bankruptcy laws that would allow an entrepreneur to fail and be able to stand up again.

    While I am pleased with the recent efforts, we should focus on what we can accomplish right now, and not simply wait for the culture to change.

    You are in a unique position to help plant the seeds for that culture.
    So do we have your commitment to enforcing bankruptcy laws in Jordan for the favor of entrepreneurs and not big companies?

    Also, i would love to hear your thoughts on what policies can help develop that culture? If you want ideas sir, got tons of them.

  11. Mohammed says:

    Hello,
    I think sharing successfull stories of enterpreneurialship will help people “youth” systemize there ideas and learn from others mistakes and successes.

    Another things i have noticed in USA and Europe, is copy rights and people whom support and guid such as where to get investors, the risk involved, this this idea was already done or someone has gone half way through which will save alot of time….which is rarly found in this part of the world.

    Last but not least, there is a lack of understanding the importantce of team work.

    Thank you

  12. Burhan says:

    I really like this comment.
    “People that have a stake in their society and feel they are invested in it – it gives them the freedom to innovate and create, and they give it its culture and values system. This values ecosystem is one of openness, one that nurtures the free flow of information and knowledge, and is built on trust. Trust of the State in its people, and the people in their State. Trust between governor and the governed, trust between managers and subordinates, and trust between peers. ”

    It is a strong motives for many government to empower their people.
    But can you put more evidence into it, to be more persuasive ?

  13. I think just by looking at the brain drain issue is enough for us to be persuaded of how important it is to have a livable functioning state that gives people a sense of ownership and belonging, thus investing their time, energy, capital, and knowledge … The UNDP Arab Human Development Report is a great source on this.

  14. Good points… thanks for sharing

  15. Thanks a lot Marwan for taking the time to write the comments … very much appreciated, and obviously you and I are in agreement on all the points… the key issue is how do we get to implementation… next blog coming soon with some ideas.

  16. The broad net is a must… it is the only way to sustainability … more to come, thanks for the help and comments my friend

  17. Great story Hazem… it says everything about entrepreneurship…thanks for sharing

  18. Thanks Scarface … I am listening … if that matters :-)

  19. Hey PK … thanks for sharing the great article. we will connect again soon I hope

  20. Nadine says:

    One action that really needs to be expedited is access to all. 100% free/very cheap Internet access to 100% of Jordan (and the region) thru whatever devices. In little time this will impact learning, discovery/recognition of talent, and new types of collaborations. Vital for the ecosystem.

    On access related to education, since reforming (a misguided word) our system is proving non revolutionary, connecting students to an umbilical of learning will induce and expose entrepreneurial traits that individuals and groups will build on. In many edu and related learning spaces around Jordan, we’ve still got ‘computer labs’ with rules on limiting usage, limited connectivity across campuses if any, and controlled environments where boxes and pipes fill rooms and students are limited in the use due to counter productive rules. Why?

    We ought to be obsessed about blanketing access, and accept to relinquish control. Allow people to find their wings.

  21. Ammar says:

    Scarfacejo; while I am not for encouraging failure, we need to ask how do we encourage the risk if we condemn those who dare to take it and happen to fail… Some great ideas failed before… some kind of protection or a safety net must be in place, so if you have an alternative to chapter 11 please voice it out we need all the ideas we can get

    I believe that we can start changing culture now… This is what I experienced during this last week…
    I spent last week in Jabal Al- Nathef with the Ruwwad project, I was training 13 young women and three young men on body awareness through exercise and promoting female power and capabilities.
    The biggest change I felt during this week is that the conservative young females that were dressed with veils accepted my presence as a human being not as a man; they looked beyond there gender identity while respecting the had cover, they no longer cared about the camera rolling while we taped the session although that was their biggest fear at the beginning.
    Those who had no clue on how to move at the beginning of the week are now begging for more sessions with me, they are no longer afraid of making fools out of them selves trying to learn exercises… The same young men and women will soon be leading exercise at their local community, and they may not have all the answers but they will plant the seed off passion
    Now this is a community changing and social values advancing, if it can work on the physical level I am sure it can work on the mental level as well

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  23. Zeid Hreish says:

    I’m a business graduate from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and currently working in Consulting at one of the Big 4. I have taken many Entrepreneurship courses at AUB, and when we start discussing Entrepreneurship in the Middle East, to make it easier for us to understand the buzz word “Entrepreneur”, we start by saying Fadi Ghandour… Your name actually hits our mind every time we hear the word Entrepreneurship in the region.

    We are more than happy to mention your name every time we discuss entrepreneurship. But, I’m sure we would be even more happier to mention the names of more entrepreneurs from the region. Unfortunately, we can’t think of any.

    In my opinion, the problem is not about lack of ideas or lack of talented people, we do have ideas and we do have talented people. But those young talented people are tempted to leave the region and go to countires where its easier to start a business. According to doingbusiness.org, Jordan, ranks 125 in the ease of starting a business.

    Fadi Ghandour, we learn from you a lot. Just an advice for young college-graduates with ideas in mind, follow your idea and keep trying even if you fail, failure is the biggest school!

  24. Mohammad Abu Musa says:

    Disclaimer: Very long post.
    Hello Fadi:
    Very interesting indeed, I totally agree with you on very point you said, I want to share a my entrepreneurship story with you.
    I started an IT company while I was in 2nd year in the university (JUST), we were a group of young software developer who hoped to help building software in Irbid, so we got ourselves incubated in a business incubator in the North. The loses kept striking and striking but we had nothing to lose(except for the time, in which it will be lost anyway playing cards). We kept pushing this company for 1.5 years then we stopped doing so. We had analysis of why we lost, mainly because we were located in the North of Jordan and because nobody really care what happens up there also because we were just technical persons without any management skills. add to that the incubator we were in promised us to provide us with services that can help us to build the company but we saw none.
    Directly after I closed the company I thought I need to know how to manage a business, luckily I was selected to joined a management internship in Daimler Financial Services, Berlin through Young Arab Leaders. I was really shocked of the level of their precision and dedication to work, I managed to get the trust of my manger there who made me run a whole project while he was in vacation.
    When I returned to Jordan I participated in QRNCE & TBPC-ASTF in which I managed to be a finalist in both but did not mange to win any of them just because I hadn’t proper mentor to help in some aspects.
    In February, I had a new idea(it is not really an invention, it’s just a new web service), I managed to get the idea as one of the top ten ideas in ArabNet 2010 (where I enjoyed your speech there). When I got back to Jordan I enrolled in another business incubator which seemed to do pretty well in terms of strategy but when it came to implementation it has its own weakness, therefore I was forced under the pressure of partners rollout of it. Another student incubator called me to host the project later on they found that they can’t host the idea because it’s out of their objective (although they support companies in idea stage).
    Beside my attempts in the private sector, I tried the governmental sector. I contacted a fund that support startups by giving up loans. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to know how a website will make money, after I explained to them how I am going to make money they gave a sheet full of conditions that assume that I have a job that supplies me with 700JD/Month. I also contacted another organization who give startups grants, but due to their bureaucracy instead of evaluating the application in 10 days(as they claimed) they do it in 2 months(initial screening).
    For now, I graduated from the university about a month ago, I managed to get qualified in MENA100 to the 2nd round, my business model, elevator pitch, and financial plan is ready. But I lack a mentor and seed fund.

    I can summarize the challenges I faced:
    • Governmental incubators do really provide value for IT company
    • All the incubators in Jordan claim to provide value for innovators but they do not really provide the value they always marketing for.
    • Most the mentors provided by business plan did not start their own business, how it is possible for those to help me.
    • All the governmental institutions in Jordan trying to help you in your startup require you to register the company and have 5 employees registered in the social security. (personally I think if you have five employees you are not a startup).
    • Most of the mentors lacks the Jordanian culture, they don’t really know what other people in Karak, Irbid, or Zarqa needs as if Amman is Jordan only.
    • Most of the mentors uses their background knowledge they gained outside the Arab world, therefore they use analysis tools that do not fit the Arab world and expect these tools to work.
    • Many investors looks for statistics about Arabic market, well we are in the US we don’t have full statistics and we don’t have transparent profit and losses projections from public companies (if any).
    • Many investors also lacks the Jordanian culture, please visit other parts of the countries you are living in.
    • There is like bible among entrepreneurship in order to understand the market need you have to do surveys (you really don’t have to do so, just sit down with the people and they will tell what the pain they live everyday).

    I hope I did not board you with my long speech, but this part of my daily life trying to make the startup in mind to reality.
    I would be thankful if you tell me your opinion about my the business plan I made, I published it last week online including screen casts, presentations, and analysis about the project. I will start my communication with seed funds next week. So it would be “bedayt 5air” if you give me your opinion.

    Thanks a lot for letting me share and sorry for the long post

    Mohammad Abu Musa

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  26. Mohammed Hujeij says:

    First allow me to mention that I do not call myself an entrepreneur,to me the term is related to the level of achievement and to actually make a change on the long run…and as my partners and I are still starting out, I’ll worry about labels and what to be called at a much later on stage..

    We have recently established our Game Developer company in Jordan, and the main thing that I want to stress here, is the positivity cultivated!
    Seriously..our company and industry “MMOGames” are of a radical concept here, I was mentally ready to deal with all kinds of frustration and put down,starting from my own family..but I was wrong..
    the amount of positivity that I have gained is tremendous, I have yet to find one single person who would put in any kind of negativity, and No,I’m not being all super optimistic..I’m talking from experience on the ground..I would tell someone of what my company is doing, I know sometimes this person don’t fully get it..but what I cultivate are endless positive responses..I’m talking individuals, companies, organization, mentors, people with huge experiences, simple people with effective inputs no matter how little ,programs, initiatives,even the government all coming together to give one big positive vibe.
    That vibe gives a far push forward, it implements trust, it doubles the passion and the belief in what I do…and slowly with all the positivity cultivated, my perspectives change..materialistic stuff become less and less shiny,and the passion to achieve, giving back to this community, the focus on one goal overwhelms me, replacing everything else..

    I know it’s a long road,and I don’t know what tomorrow hides..but I do know that even if the sky comes falling “lasama7 Allah”,I’ll look it in the eye with a huge smile on my face..knowing that it’s definitely-definitely worth it.

  27. Mohammed, I love this story … spoken like a true entrepreneur… best of all is the positive support you got from your family and friends, that is critical for any startup… thanks a lot for sharing

  28. Zeid, thanks a lot for your input… I have a couple of comments:
    1. Plenty of great entrepreneurs in the region, some are known and others might not be known, we need to always tell their stories and celebrate them… people like Suleiman Olyan which the AUB business school is named after, he created an empire and strated from scratch… Elia Nuqul, Samih Darwazeh, Sabih Masri, Samih Toukan, Azmi Mikati, Randa Ayoubi, Arif Naqvi, Abdul Salam Haikal, and so many others have created fantastic institutions, and were great entrepreneurs …
    2. Failure is in not trying… if you try and do not make it, then you have not failed, you have learned, and learning is what entrepreneurship is all about… You said it best “failure is the biggest school” Read the book “The Talent Code” plenty of interesting stories about failure and learning …

  29. TM says:

    Being someone who was raised in the more ‘privileged’ part of Amman, it’s easy to see why there might be a lack of entrepreneurs in my generation. We were raised with everything provided to us – which is not a bad thing, but if it’s not with the right influence, one grows up with a sense of entitlement, a sense of safety, a sense of daddy will always be there to take care of me.

    Also with a culture that doesn’t foster independence, one where you are expected to live with your parents until you are either 40 or married, especially for women. Something very unappealing for someone who’s been to university and worked abroad.

    Even coming from the most open-minded of families we are taught to think that there are only a few respectable jobs for a woman and they are already defined. We are also taught – either directly or not- to think that at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you are successful, you probably will have a man to look after you.

    Throwing your children in the best school doesn’t necessarily mean they will get the best education. Parents need to stop being passive about their children’s education and expecting the school to do it. Parents need to start nurturing in their children from a young age the qualities of an entrepreneur. Or whatever qualities your children seem to exhibit. Not just a general shove into the best school and the best tennis instructor..because not all kids are A students, and that’s ok.

    There also needs to be a greater flow of ideas and mentor-ship. Bringing together of fun,creative, challenging minds – an outlet where one can feel as though they are getting first hand world-class mentor-ship rather than just second hand smoke.

  30. Thanks for sharing your story Mohammad, I think it is a perfect example of the issues that I will be addressing in my next few blog entries… mentorship, education, government, open markets,
    and no you did not bore me at all :-)

  31. Not sure of your name, but it looks like something Marar … so hello Marar !!
    That is exactly why I think we need to address entrepreneurship from its wider perspective… from a societal one rather than a business one… Entrepreneurial society is a stakeholer view… a holisitic view … more to come and I would love to hear your views on my next posts…

  32. Zeid Hreish says:

    Fadi Ghandour, thank you for your time to reply. Just a comment, half of the names you mentioned are above 60 years old, what I meant is that we can rarely name any YOUNG-entrepreneurs in the region.

    Anyway, many of us probably are currently working for big companies now and have not yet started our own business. The misconception is that if we don’t own a business we can’t be Entrepreneurs. That’s completely wrong.

    Whats even more interesting than entrepreneurship is “Intrapreneurship”, meaning, entrepreneurship inside the organization.

    From what I know, aramex people, are continuously trying to think out of the box- seeking for change. If a person in Aramex Dubai comes up with an entrepreneurial idea, and he thinks its good, he wants to try it. Unless its going to be rolled around the network then there is no need for a corporate committee to meet and eventually kill the idea. People at aramex are given freedom to to create new projects!

    That corporate culture would give birth to new entrepreneurs. Fadi Ghandour your always a step ahead.

  33. Bob A. says:

    Hello Fadi,

    You continue to amaze and inspire with your ceaseless drive to make a difference.

    I contributed a chapter to a new book published by the Institute for International Education called: “Innovation Through Education: Building the Knowledge Economy in the Middle East.”

    It is a collection of independent chapters by various authors, rather than a proscriptive manual. I will be very happy to send you a complimentary copy since my chapter discusses Jordan. It addresses a subset of the overall topic. I don’t have time to comment more here, but I have lots to share on the topic.

    Best wishes,

    Bob

  34. Hey Bob,
    Great to hear from you my friend… I would love to get a copy of the book, as you well know I am extremely intersted in the subject…
    I hope you are well ? let me know when you are back to the region

  35. Zeid, your point is well taken about age… but age is not the key here it is what they have built… one of the points I will make in my next blog posts is how important it is to tell the stories of entrepreneurs and celebrate them, the importance of role models is huge, to show that it can be done and it has been done. Check out aramex’s latest magazine http://www.aramex.com/news/item.aspx?id=f2fc6161-ea0d-4d4d-8fb1-14f307febfb0 and read the stories about young entrepreneurs and what they are doing.
    I will also discuss intrapreneurship, that is where you get entrepreneurs to go out and venture for themselves or make a difference inside their organization… intrapreneurship is probably the best place to incubate entrepreneurs…

  36. Mo Elzubeir says:

    Interesting post indeed. I will in turn share some my experiences and thoughts on the subject.

    When I first moved to Dubai, I came to be away from my comfort zone. Away from family. I also felt that if I were to make something out of myself in this part of the world, Dubai is the place to be. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had just quit my job in Bahrain and came here to work for a trading company (import/export) in IT. Not the most impressive career path.

    Since then I have moved and worked for a start-up which failed miserably. I watched as management could not commit to the company and chose to run it as a part-time job. It was an excellent experience on what not to do.

    Founding Mediastow was not an easy decision to make. I remember, despite my father’s constant encouragement to do my own thing and abandon the ‘employee’ path, he felt that it’s too much of a risk. His natural fear for my failure was in contradiction to his advice before I set out to setup shop. I remember telling him, the difference between those who do and those who don’t is the ability to take risks. If I don’t risk it now, when would I?

    Off we went. I had 0 management experience. My partners provided me with a lot of support in the best way they could, but I had made many mistakes and continue to make them. I learn and continue to learn from those mistakes.

    For example, I have learned that competition will not be honorable. I learned that the legal system in the UAE is ill-equipped, but will eventually be fair (although excruciatingly slow).

    Another important lesson I learned is that clients don’t care if you have a fancy office. Clients are looking for someone to solve a problem for them. Appearances don’t matter as much. We ran our offices from a warehouse in Al Qusais for a year. Our competitors tried to belittle us by saying that we run from a warehouse, and instead, it ended up working for us. We were proud to tell our clients that, yes, we work out of a warehouse. We deliver and that’s all that matters.

    Today, we’re a month away from our 5th anniversary. We didn’t get sucked into the hype and didn’t burn cash. We survived the crash and we continue to grow.

  37. This is a brilliant story Mo … I love it… lots of lessons, cash burn, no hype focus on your offering, take the plunge and just do it, family support but… learning by doing (no management experience) best school ever, partner support, governments legal infrastructure, etc… all such vluable lessons… thanks for sharing

  38. Bob A. says:

    Hi Fadi,

    Let me know if you received the book. I sent it to your company PO Box in Amman addressed to you on August 17th. If you didn’t get it by now, I will send another copy.

    Always great to be in touch and I love that you are using your blog to utilize the collective intelligence of this community of practice to share ideas!

    Perhaps you ought to focus all of our minds on a problem of interest to you and see what comes back?! I am of course most interested in your thoughts, but crowd sourcing solutions is a great and interesting way to attack a problem.

    I will certainly let you know the next time I am in Jordan!

    Best wishes,

    Bob

  39. Ali Musleh says:

    You’re discussing an issue close to my heart, so here I go:

    An entrepreneurial society supports the function of the entrepreneur which is in essence overcoming the barriers to innovation where it be in the context of the for-profit organization, the non-profit, the governmental or in overall society in which all these organs interact. Overcoming the barriers to innovation is the behavior characteristic of the entrepreneur. This is Joseph Schumpeter’s description of the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial culture.

    This definition focuses thinking on the problems that an entrepreneur faces and focuses the investment of energy on lessening or eliminating those problems and barriers. It also focuses on the entrepreneur as a person and as an embodiment of that society and as the transmitter of its values and mores. This view of the entrepreneur can be detected in many success story books, (how to think like Steve Jobs) books and articles. As much as I like these insightful and inspirational stories and as much as I think their experience is invaluable, we must approach our learning process as a innovative community differently.

    Innovation models/ cultures are not transferable. However, they start emerging once we create space for innovation to come forward. Communicating “how to innovate” strategies and tactics often fail to deliver a complete story because of the importance of implicit as well as explicit knowledge in innovative communities. Implicit knowledge as it’s self explanatory, can’t be plainly expressed and it is only built and accumulated through time. What we must aim to do is to create conditions within which performing communities can grow and innovate. The challenging part is that innovation spaces are co-created. The mechanical structuring of many organizations and of some societies doesn’t enable that. A new view of innovation cultures suggests looking at organizations as living communities. For the co-creation process to start progressive conversations we must create the conditions for innovation to come forward in our own selves and in the community in which we want to operate. These conversations will start building experience in what and how to preserve, transform and create, which are the three basic actions essential to innovative communities. Barriers that might arise can be organizational, managerial or resistance to changes that affect the economic and/or social status of some people. Arriving at these barriers from a space of collective innovative exploration and discovery has a huge advantage- which is the investment in needs and values that the community believes in while actively overcoming these barriers. And as the community has experience and are able to prototype and practice their values, they are more likely to lead collective action and have influence and at the same time manage their relationships with the different stakeholders that can influence its performance.

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