… and it makes sense!

Hey folks,

some of you might already know that I am currently taking part in the CBS Social Entrepreneurship MOOC. My original intention was both to learn more about social business (which I find a great way of working on social and environmental problems in a sustainable way) and about entrepreneurs (whom I find very interesting and inspirational personalities). Now I am part of an online project working on delivering personal and emotional support online to people in need of it and training mentors to give this support. More information on this project can be found here and before starting with my main post, I will share our short presentation video (“pitch”) we just have done for the online course:

Always looking for feedback by the way 🙂

But now to what I want to share with you today:

An entrepreneur is born (… and it makes sense)

First, I don’t think someone becomes born as an entrepreneur. But if you tend to seek solutions for problems existing in your environment, you are likely to become an entrepreneur one day. I think the most organic (in the meaning of continually growing) and sustainable way of becoming an entrepreneur is to be deeply committed to solving a problem in your environment (e.g. loneliness of the elder people).

You now begin to think about and search for solutions and develop a kind of idea what your solution could look like to solve this problem. Feeling this deep commitment and therefore need for a solution, you have a fire burning within which empowers you to work a lot on your solution and communicate with enthusiasm to other people to find like-minded people and form a team. Forming a team is very important because some day you will need more skills or thought exchange or working hours than you have at hand yourself and if you don’t have a team then, your solution will be limited in its growth and loose its sustainability and you can even begin to burn out.

So far my thoughts are no rocket science I think. But a thought hit me as I was telling a friend that I lacked the feeling of having the parts/activities in my life integrated into a vision/goal which makes me feel like “This is what I am. This is what I want to achieve. I don’t just work, I burn for making my vision real and everything makes sense!”

If you are deeply committed to solving a problem in your environment and burn for it, the way you are and the skills you have will make more and more sense in your life as you will be able to use them for your solution and the puzzle of your life reveals a mystery and shows the entrepreneur required for making the solution real.

I think this must be a wonderful feeling (even if you can’t sleep at night sometimes because you are full of visionary thoughts) which gives you a lot of inner fuel and strength. I mean after all, you have just found the confirmation for the need to be needed and a really meaningful activity and you are somehow made for it – wow!

I feel like my words still lack a bit the clarity to paint the picture of this entrepreneur in my mind but maybe you can help me with your comments and questions so that I can develop this idea further?

Have a great day,

Chris

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Businesses conventionally use profits for their own benefit and entrust non-profit organizations and governments to solve social problems in the community. Sadly this is not enough. But, did you know there are also companies that invest their profits back into making a positive change in society? People helping other people to help themselves.

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We are some of these passionate people from around the world that have come together to make the world a better place. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and the goodwill of Coursera, the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) is holding a massive open online course (MOOC) in Social Entrepreneurship for people of different backgrounds, ranging from successful business owners, to people working in the medical field, to university students, you name it!
This course allows us to connect with each other and create groups to develop a business plan around a social business. Through a competitive selection process, and chosen by an expert committee from CBS, the most promising social ventures developed at the end of this Social Entrepreneurship course will receive the funds that we raise this week!

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Lessons Learned From Reading Götz W. Werner’s Autobiography “Womit ich nie gerechnet habe” Pt 2

Howdy folks,

I feel like having to proceed to tell you about this impressively inspiring book (first part here)… I can tell you, I folded one edge of every book page I found interesting and I was almost feeling like beginning to read one page, folding the edge and then finishing reading this page.

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Departmen...

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Department Group for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, at “Centralstation” in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany Deutsch: Götz Werner, Leiter des “Interfakultative Institut für Entrepreneurship” an der Universität Karlsruhe, in der Centralstation in Darmstadt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, if you have not read the first part yet, I want to briefly introduce Götz W. Werner to those of you who don’t know him. He founded the company I am working for, an originally German drugstore chain (now spread over big parts of Europe), in 1973. Today, he is a member of the supervisory board and is promoting an idea he really likes, a basic income for every citizen paid by one single tax on the consumption (he would remove every other tax because he thinks that every member of the industry is already calculating the taxes into the price we as consumers are paying for its products, so it is us paying its taxes). The drugstore chain he founded is quite well known, especially in Germany, for being a very social employer with some anthroposophical philosophy mixed into the corporate culture. I already told you about the process to get to a commonly accepted decision some time ago (see here if you want to) and this is only one example of a kind of different thinking.

Götz Werner was asked three questions that changed his life (and the success of his company) very much:

  1. Is your company serving you or are you serving your company?
  2. Are your employees serving your company or is the company serving its employees?
  3. Are the customers serving your company or is your company serving its customers?
Think Tank

Think Tank (Photo credit: Robiwan_Kenobi)

These questions are very essential because they define if the human being is the mean or the end of thought and work. If your employees, the customers and you are only serving your company, your company is just using human beings to grow or earn as much money as possible. But this is not the real purpose of a company. A company should be of service for the human being and be therefore the means and not the end of work and thought.

Next thought. Stop. Take a deep breath. What are you doing here? Why are you reading this post? What are your goals in life? Who are you? Stop again. Maybe too much questions and questions that are too hard to answer right now. But what Götz Werner is telling us is that we all need to spend enough time on reflecting the things we do. If we only react to the things that happen without thinking about them, we can hardly learn or improve anything and will therefore struggle harder and harder until we (literally) die. If we refuse to be always in “reaction mode”, we can start to take time to think about things and design our own life.

English: Think positive

English: Think positive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once we begin thinking about our life, we need the right attitude, too. Remember, every problem is a potential for development and improvement and never a reason to worry.

If we are doing quite well getting our problems “solved” or if we work for a company or even own a company, we should begin to think about the needs and problems of the human beings around us. If we find solutions and ways to solve these problems and satisfy these needs, we can improve their quality of life and the way they satisfy their needs and will probably earn money or other rewards for doing so.

Information

Information (Photo credit: heathbrandon)

Very important in this context is one point I agree very much on: Good advertising is not talking to the dark and stupid part of the customer’s mind. It is honestly telling the customer about the existence of a solution for his/her problem and providing the opportunity to improve one’s life this way. This is real innovation and not just marketing…

Now we are on page 75 of almost 300 but I will stop here to give you the chance to think about what you have just read and proceed in part three next week.

Hope you enjoyed reading, comments are very welcome.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend,

Chris

Lessons Learned From Reading Götz W. Werner’s Autobiography “Womit ich nie gerechnet habe” Pt 1

 

Howdy folks,

already finished reading this book on my flight back from Russia in end of September but somehow postponed this post for sometime. But still feel like having to tell you about this impressively inspiring book… I can tell you, I folded one edge of every book page I found interesting and I was almost feeling like beginning to read one page, folding the edge and then finishing reading this page.

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Departmen...

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Department Group for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, at “Centralstation” in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany Deutsch: Götz Werner, Leiter des “Interfakultative Institut für Entrepreneurship” an der Universität Karlsruhe, in der Centralstation in Darmstadt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, I want to briefly introduce Götz W. Werner to those of you who don’t know him. He founded the company I am working for, an originally German drugstore chain (now spread over big parts of Europe), in 1973. Today, he is a member of the supervisory board and is promoting an idea he really likes, a basic income for every citizen paid by one single tax on the consumption (he would remove every other tax because he thinks that every member of the industry is already calculating the taxes into the price we as consumers are paying for its products, so it is us paying its taxes). The drugstore chain he founded is quite well known, especially in Germany, for being a very social employer with some anthroposophical philosophy mixed into the corporate culture. I already told you about the process to get to a commonly accepted decision some time ago (see here if you want to) and this is only one example of a kind of different thinking.

Self Evident

Self Evident (Photo credit: matttrent)

The first thing from his book that hit me was his concept of what he calls “Evidence”: “Evidence” means to him that everybody is telling you that it won’t work but you somehow are just feeling like knowing they are all wrong because you know you are right, even if you can’t prove it now. But if you look back later at this decision, you might think that there was no other possibility to go on at this point.

He wants us to be attentive for the human beings and the world around us and to be able to be amazed or touched by the things and people that we meet. If we care for human beings and even feel amazed or touched by some of them, we still need to carefully think about them analyzing e.g. which impact they might have on our lives. So we need to be both proactive and reflective to be successful and to improve ourselves or even a part of the world/our environment.

November means an Intuition Boost (366/316 Nov...

November means an Intuition Boost (366/316 Nov. 11, 2012) (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

Evidence is very much related to intuition for him. If you know you can trust your intuition, you are able to follow the “Evidence” you feel about something and are likely to be successful because the future is something you can hardly grasp by the measures of today (so analyzing the future by measurements of today will often lead to a rational but wrong decision).

World map depicting Africa Esperanto: Mondmapo...

World map depicting Africa Esperanto: Mondmapo bildiganta Afrikon Español: Ubicación de África (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He describes the spirit of entrepreneurship by a short but funny story: At the beginning of the 1950s, there were two shoe salesmen sent to Africa who should analyze the market and send a telegram (message) about their first impressions after three days. One of them found “no market, all the people are walking on their bare feet”, the other found “a huge market potential, nobody is wearing shoes yet”. The spirit of entrepreneurship is about making every problem an opportunity to create something to improve our personal and the customers’ situation (and maybe half the world are “our customers”).

One last thought for this part: His company was not always as anthroposophically influenced as it is today. It started as a very hierarchical enterprise like many companies were that time and only transformed by facing difficulties it could not handle as a hierarchically company. Will tell you more about this in Part two…

Hope you enjoyed reading, comments are very welcome.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend,

Chris