Entrepreneurship is mostly seen as the domain of the gifted, outside the reach of the ordinary man. If we reverse to the 16th century, this so called ‘great man’ explanation was exactly the situation in which science found itself. Bacon then initiated the process of codifying the actions of scientists, leading to the understanding of empirical evidence and experimentation that became the building blocks of the ‘scientific method’. Today, the scientific method is taught as an essential skill; it forms part of the core of all education (not only for science graduates).
What if the key to unlocking the full potential of entrepreneurship’s impact on society is to similarly see entrepreneurship not as a mysterious gift but as a method that can be understood? By being replicable, entrepreneurship would then be released from the confines of a sub-category of economics and elevated to the level of a social force¹.
This idea is still at an early stage of exploration, but already the implications are significant. Beyond simply replicating entrepreneurial endeavor, everyone could benefit from the reasoning and problem-solving skills emerging as part of this method. It has potential as a tool to unpack large problems at the centre of progressing humanity.
Even in its current early stages, the ‘entrepreneurship method’ is providing the Foundation with a powerful paradigm against which to evaluate and refine the activities undertaken within the Allan Gray Fellowship and Scholarship. One example is the introduction of “ignitions” including one which requires Fellows to look at every area of life more critically, with a view to practicing how to identify inefficiencies and think of solutions. It aligns with the entrepreneurship method by focusing on their existing context as the starting point before moving forward.
By Anthony Farr
¹Entrepreneurship as Method: Open Questions for an Entrepreneurial Future’, Professor Saras D. Sarasvathy and SankaranVentakaram.