Scientists, Engineers and Managers – are they innovators and entrepreneurs too?

Sc En Mgr as entrepreneurRecently I was speaking with a friend, who is a successful dot com entrepreneur. We both agreed that, to be successful today you need to be an entrepreneur and an innovator. After this initial agreement, I was startled to learn how profoundly different we were in our thinking in terms of what it means to be an entrepreneur or innovator?
My friend told me that he always admired the sorts of people who took the risk, by getting a second mortgage on his/her home, to fund their business. They were the risk takers and the true entrepreneurs”
I asked him, “How about all those people who take risks and move all the mountains to put a new material in the jet engine blades or new process that melts glass or holds beams together in a sky scraper or pushes a new product out in the market, even when the marketing says they have never heard about it in the field? Are they all not entrepreneurs and innovators?”
After some reflection, he agreed and said, “You are partially correct. Entrepreneur and innovator need not always be only the investors. True, they sow the seed and create the climate. But the many scientists, engineers and managers – the professionals – are also innovators and entrepreneurs. It is their collective efforts that make entrepreneurship and innovation successful”.
While we teach entrepreneurship and skills for innovation in colleges as they pertain to investors and as part of management education, we rarely teach the skills for technical professionals – the scientists and engineers. The ability of the professionals that combines their Science, Engineering and Management skills – as a system – together with innovation and entrepreneurship can be best described as Transformational Skills. Is it about time we offered formal education on System Thinking and Transformational skills?
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