Driving the Spirit of Entrepreneurship across Your Organization

By Meghann Wooster posted 02-07-2012 11:05


I’ve been hearing a lot about Richard Branson lately. You know, the Virgin Records, Virgin Airways and Virgin Galactic guy. My husband’s an aerospace engineer, so maybe it’s not that surprising that Branson’s on my radar, given that he’s looking to make space tourism a reality. At any rate, all the Branson mania’s got me thinking about entrepreneurship and what it means to be part of an entrepreneurial organization.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about start-ups, here. Large, established companies and government agencies can be adept at fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship in their employees.

What does the term “spirit of entrepreneurship” mean exactly?  Well, Branson himself said, “Think of what frustrates you—and if you’re frustrated by something and you feel ‘Dammit, if only people could do this better,’ then go try to do it better yourself.”

This desire to do something better, the willingness to take the initiative in pursuit of better outcomes, is what the spirit of entrepreneurship is all about.

Risk, Change and the Role of Fresh Insight

Taking the initiative often means taking a risk. And we all know that not everyone’s a big risk taker. At our CIO Symposia last November, a number of CIOs came out and told us, “I’d rather be third to adopt a new technology.”

First is risky; third is safe.

But improvement is often incremental, which decreases the risk involved. Even incremental improvement, however, requires a willingness to set aside familiar ways of doing things.

Blogger/novelist Justine Musk suggests that “disrupt[ing] yourself and your routine” can go a long way toward boosting the kind of creativity that leads to improved results. She writes:

“We are creatures of habit; the brain organizes life into patterns of thinking and behaving (a.k.a. ‘ruts’) in order to process life more efficiently. When you change what you’re doing, you change your context, and you activate different parts of your brain. You tap into different parts of your thinking—and yourself. You see things from new angles. You get fresh insight.”

To help our customers see their ECM systems and associated business processes from a new angle, we just announced the Laserfiche Solution Exchange at Empower 2012. The brainchild of Tom Wayman, our vice president of marketing and product strategy, the Solution Exchange gives customers, resellers and other members of the community a place to share concrete examples of how to plan, configure and optimize their ECM systems.

Solutions Exchange entries are different from our case studies, which provide a 10,000-foot view of how an organization is using Laserfiche. For example, our Ramsey County case study mentions the needs analysis phase in passing, whereas five different Solutions Exchange entries provide in-depth detail on Ramsey’s ROI calculations, staff resource planning and project prioritization checklist, among other topics.

The idea is to provide a space where users can spark ideas off each other. After all, as Musk writes in another post, “People take new technologies and find their own uses for them, so that technology both shapes and is shaped by its connection with its audience.”

So take a look, share your stories and let us know what you think. We hope the Solution Exchange gives you a few ideas for how to do things better and shows you that, although you might not be a business owner, the spirit of entrepreneurship applies to you, too.

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