I feel very privileged to be part of the Design for Social Innovation (DSI) program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC where I co-teach Entrepreneurship & Collaborative Leadership with Karen Proctor to second year students who are earning their MFA in the two year program. It was really fun on Wednesday night to join all of the students in the program to hear the story of one of NYC's great entrepreneurs, Alexis Ohanian author of his new book Without Their Permission. My friend Dawn Barber was instrumental in helping me arrange Alexis' visit to SVA.
Economic development is about jobs, jobs where people can earn enough to feed and shelter themselves and their families. Most economic development programs are betting on "scalable" startups as their job engine - trying to make sure the next Facebook, Google, etc. is built in their city, state or region. Is that the best way to do it? Should we put the bulk of economic development funds in scalable startups or invest more money in training as many people as can be accommodated in the basic principles of entrepreneurship as defined by the $100 Startup or other micro-entrepreneurship models. Let's be agile/lean and run some experiments to test our hypotheses.
We have all heard of the Valley of Death but not explained by a guy with the experience base that Keith Teare has. He currently has 13 portfolio companies being incubated or accelerated at Archimedes Labs but has just hit a major bump in the road with his personal baby, just.me, in spite of quickly amassing over 300,000 users for what is described as "the best of texting, email and social networking, all in one place, on a mobile app".
My art is teaching innovation and entrepreneurship. The ideas I am sharing with MFA students at the School of Visual Arts in NYC are about the "art of innovation and entrepreneurship". Why do I say "art"? I have immersed myself in Seth Godin's work lately having been drawn in by his focus on art and artists. Seth's definition of art is broad, "art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another". To Seth art and the artist are not on the fringe but in fact right at the center of the post-industrial economy -- "creating ideas that spread and connecting the disconnected are the two pillars of our new society, and both of them require the posture of an artist". It was running across a new book by musician David Byrne, adding it to the mix, that triggered this post.....