Entering a recession in the western world, combined with a deep metamorphosis of society and economy, some serious challenges concerning entrepreneurship and innovcation stay unanswered. On one hand, a full generation of youngsters who want to create their own company, with huge risks and lack of resources, and on the other hand, a full generation of entrepreneurs who have to re-invent their businesses without the prerequisites (new economy competence, openness to collaboration and collective intelligence).
I was so sad when I met those great young people who truly want to create their thing, but demoralized because of the mutiple challenges they have to cope with, and the loneliness in doing so. The “good ones” leave the country, or abandon for a compromised job which mediumly stimulates them.
99% of the companies in this country are SME, and over 1/3 are going to be sold or passed on to next generation within 10 years. Often, the next gen is not interested in taking over, and “become like dad”.
On the other hand, I am so much irritated when I see leaders and entrepreneurs with massive gold within handreach, but who are not able to activate it, just because they do not dare to take time for it and question their way of working – even though their business-model is already dead. And especially they do not want to face incoherences and activate collective creativity. It frightens them… “no waves, no revolutions please”. Actually, I realize that their neurons do not connect in the way they should in a world where intelligent collaboration with stakeholders will be key, where value creation will be a drive, and not wealth accumulation, where 3D-thinking and working will be replacing our linear 2D models.
And eventually, GenZ’s often make their mid-life crisises between 18 and 22, lloking for purpose … which blocks them to enter mainstream business. They realize what they have been taughts (read brainwashed) in their MBA-studies, had created the problems they have to face now. Which is deeply tearing them apart. They of course want the tools of the western corporate world (travel, car, money, recognition,…), but do not want the set of values going with it (short term profit, egoïsm,…). They are looking for purpose.
The solution we started to experience is new – actually quite close to spin-off templates – and works out great. It gives multiple answers to these challenges: EXTRAPRENEURSHIP.
UHDR UniverseCity found out that innovation must not start in the core business of a company, but in the periphery. Hard to convince entrepreneurs and managers to dedicate resources specifically to this mission when the teams are working to manage the day-to-day with busy schedules. It’s where the Extrapreneur finds its place.
Advantages for the SME (called “mother company”, and family business):
- the leader does not have to mobilize too much human resources to innovate
- he can consolidate the existing business while the extrapreneur is innovating “on his behalf”
- he does not have to be initiated into the new economy skills and competences
- it’s a cheap bet on new business, with very low risk
- he does not have to “provoke inner revolutions”, but can innovate in the margin of his operations
Advantages for the extrapreneur:
- he does not have to buy all the resources for his entrepreneurial setup
- he is not alone any more
- he can jumpstart with resources of his stakeholders
- he can switch from project to project, as a “extrapreneurs community” can provide several profiles: inventors, innovators, marketeers, project managers, business developers,…
The extrapreneur’s job:
- Create new or innovative ventures based on his excellence combined with excellence of the mother company or client
- Turn around “old paradigm” businesses to enter the new economy
- Be part of and nurture a community of intrapreneurship, extrapreneurship, spin-offs, innovation ventures to develop sustainable businesses from scratch
- Experience and appropriate itself with the new economy methods.
- Participate in the development of other new ventures
- Dedicate part of his time to the sourcing of a knowledge center for the extrapreneurs community
How will he work:
Create new or innovative systemic and collaborative ventures:
- Innovation and creativity workshops with stakeholders and HR from the mother company
- Create business cases, and validate them
- Test them
- Activate resources withinb business ecosystems
- Start, run, scale up the business, and eventually integration with mother company
Specific required skills
- Dual mastery: a core competency of excellence and a peripheral one not related to the first one
- Language: at least 2
- High sense of responsibility – being able to support a project from initiation to delivery, or being able to pass on to another extrapreneur who does have the skills
- Think logically and multi-dimensionally, out of the basic linear framework
- Developed team spirit – all projects are lead by two people: one main responsible and a backup, for mutual emulation and as part of our own risk management
- Open-mind and curiosity
- Integrity and humility
- A good dose of humor and joviality
- Not afraid of taking controversial positions, self-confident
- Basic attitude expected
- Will to create value for common good and communities
- Desire to create impact for sustainable change
- On a sincere personal path of improvement and personal power
- Laugh from time to time
- Enjoy waking up to work and provide once in a lifetime experience to our client or mother company
The job of an extrapreneur is highly demanding, in return he can expect:
- Evolving wage in line with contribution to future successes
- Flex-time – the objective is that the work must be done and deadlines reached.
- Homeworking allowed equilibrating your work and private life by reducing commuting when possible. We nevertheless trust in real exchanges.
- Personal development to acquire or extend competencies
- Strong mutual learning from the other extrapreneurs community
- A flexibility to jump from one project to another, depending on skills, competences and affinitie
- If the occasion occurs, a stake can be taken in the new ventures
- We also offer a highly regarded network of experts, multiple ways to grow and personally excel. Your well-being and growth is at the core of our strategy.
Michel de Kemmeter
UHDR UniverseCity founder