I was asked recently to do a presentation in Kitchener concerning my life as an entrepreneur, but more importantly, to comment on what Canada needs to do in order to support an entrepreneurial environment.
I boiled down my needs and expectations into a single word: ‘innostructure’.
Innostructure is innovation meets infrastructure.
Now, instead of indulging in a rant about the tens-of-billions spent per year on the creation of ‘hard’ infrastructure like roads and highways, I’d like to focus instead on how to bring some balance to spending and the creation of an environment that will support entrepreneurs in a 21st century economy.
Innostructure looks a little like this:
Here’s the quick summary of what Innostructure is all about:
|Less about …
||More about …
|Shovels in dirt||Digital infrastructure|
|Moving people around||Moving information|
|Big spending||Personal commitment|
Let’s look at the components of Innostructure …
The ‘Personal’ part of Innostructure gets personal very quickly. It’s the ‘elephant in the room’.
You won’t get very far if your personal life isn’t in check.
It’s difficult to talk about things like ‘mental illness’ and ‘anxiety’ without feeling like there’s a big glaring lamp pointed at your face. The key point here is that we have to ‘design to the edges’ with things like health hotlines and support networks.
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, frustrating and challenging for so many reasons and a very large percentage of the population simply can’t relate to this. When you work from home, there’s no ‘cooler talk’. There tend to be a lot less lunches or after-work cocktails. Emotions can be … diverse as you get a business ready for launch, steer it through the critics and then do everything you can to build traffic and loyalty, despite the speedbumps that you know you’re going to face.
But entrepreneurs do it anyway because they can’t imagine living any other way.
Designing an innostructure to support an entrepreneur’s personal life can range from improving the knowledge base of hotline counselors to developing peer networks and social groups that let entrepreneurs rant once in a while. I’m fortunate in that my wife and a few friends are extremely supportive, but there are many out there who need more.
I’ll continue with more over the holidays. I hope you enjoyed this first piece.
Please provide your thoughts below in the comments field. I would greatly appreciate your feedback.