Why would any IIMA student want to do a course in entrepreneurship? Hey, I slogged my ass off (or was just plain lucky) and am here to get that fancy high paying job through campus placement. Entrepreneurship is for gamblers, for risk takers, not for a sophisticated person like me! Right?
Our alums, however, paint a very different picture. Circa 10 years later, most of you will be in entrepreneurial roles - as advisors, helping family or a friend or even launching your own startups. In fact, even from campus, many of you will be tasked at being intrapreneurs within the firms you join. And that part about risk and gambling - it's just one more myth about entrepreneurship.
Welcome then to Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ETA). ETA is not just about starting a business; it's more about developing an entrepreneurial mindset. The course does that through modules on design thinking, lean start up, corporate entrepreneurship and discussing an effectual approach to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the questions we discuss in the course and suggest that maybe students consider saying NO to campus placements.
Design Thinking: How do you address wicked problems that often have deep complexities that could lead to unintended consequences? Design thinking is one approach. The EDIPT model involves empathy, definition, ideating, prototyping and testing. Another approach is the What is? What if? What wows? What works? framework. After getting acquainted with these concepts you will engage in a workshop on a problem that design firm IDEO was given by Air New Zealand.
Entrepreneurship: The Lean Start Up: How do you disrupt an existing market dominated by large players with significant resources? In the lean start up approach rather than elaborate business plans entrepreneurs quickly launch a minimum viable product (MVP) and take it to market. Based on feedback (build-measure-learn loop) they then pivot to products and services that are solving real problems.
Corporate Entrepreneurship: What is corporate entrepreneurship? Why is it often considered a paradox? How do large corporates foster an entrepreneurial culture? What if an intrapreneur's idea does not fit with the business unit's development plans? Does the corporate watch as the employee leaves, succeeds and then acquires the startup later? The lean startup offers one approach to addressing this.
Effectual Approach to Entrepreneurship: When markets are unpredictable, is focusing on end goals and assembling resources the best way of starting up? Would an internally driven approach of asking who you are, what you know and whom you know offer another route to entrepreneurship? In highly uncertain environments entrepreneurs follow rules like bird in hand, affordable loss, crazy quilt, lemonade and pilot in the plane to navigate their way while creating new markets.
Founder's Dilemmas: Should founders have equity discussions early or late in a venture? Is it better to form teams around skill sets or with people you get along with? Is it good to have a plan B in your business? Is debt better or offering equity? Can you be a part time entrepreneur?
These are only some of the questions we will debate in class while I share my own journey as an entrepreneur.
About The Author
Fellow Program in Management (FPM) - Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) - Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
Indian School Certificate (ISC) - St. Columba's School, New Delhi