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Sustainability + Entrepreneurship + Innovation = WINN the future

Our project, “WINN – Workouts for innovation leaders”, is about innovation, with a focus on how we can turn it into a habit, by helping SME managers from areas that benefit very little from the use of technologies to develop a proper mindset for it. It is about helping SME managers and owners become innovation leaders.

 

As stated in a 2019 article[1], one of the four meta-competencies needed to succeed in the future that researchers and psychologists have identified is designer type-thinking (the other three being: discipline/self-discipline, autonomy and an entrepreneurial mentality), which means “rearranging the existing knowledge and turning it into something new”. Which basically means innovating, isn’t it? Engaging in innovative and productive activities is what makes entrepreneurs and managers really successful.

To support this, a very new study called “Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in the Romanian Entrepreneurial EcoSystem”[2] published by UEFISCI, in Romania (Unitatea Executivă Pentru Finanțarea Invățământului Superior a Cercetării, Dezvoltării și Inovării – The Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation), speaks about innovative entrepreneurs as being the ones who can translate science and technology ideas into marketable products that meet users’ needs and not the needs of those who create them. Innovation therefore calls for empathy first and then for useful skills such as prototyping and testing, rethinking and resilience.

According to the 2020 European Innovation Scoreboard[3], at the global level, the European Union performs in the innovation department better than the United States and China. 24 EU countries have an increased performance in innovation, with Germany and Portugal among the strong innovators, Greece and Spain among the moderate innovators. Sadly, Romania ranks last in innovation among the European countries, however not from lack of talent or from lack of entrepreneurial ventures, but because of the “brain drain phenomenon” (youth’s migration) and an unfriendly environment for innovation.

So much more than the Unites States and China, Europe prides itself with an increased accent on social, institutional and cultural innovation, valuing a citizen-oriented entrepreneurship and not just a shareholders’ profit maximization. And here we can mention the European vision for the data economy and the protection of personal autonomy, as signaled by the GDPR, and the creation of a free digital market, protected from the power of the large tech monopolies.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/YZsvNs2GCPU

A thing to be noted is that the countries ranking highest in the innovation department in Europe are also the countries with high performing universities that offer good research opportunities[4]. There are studies (Curaj et al., 2016; Nicolau and Forris’s 2018) showing that entrepreneurs with higher education have a greater impact on the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as they are less motivated by financial gain and more likely to bring positive social contributions to society and thus more likely to innovate. It is therefore imperative that in order to create an environment that fosters innovation, countries must invest in their people’s higher education.

[1] “We need these four meta-competencies to conquer the future”, published by the Trisoft Team on 16.12.2019, available online at: https://medium.com/remote-symfony-team/we-need-these-four-meta-competencies-to-conquer-the-future-34613090f48c, .

[2] resource-825742-sustainability-and-innovation-in-the-romanian-entrepreneurial-ec.pdf (gov.ro)

[3] https://interactivetool.eu/EIS/EIS_2.html#a

[4] https://www.mastersportal.com/articles/1662/times-higher-education-ranking-2021-best-european-universities.html