martes, 24 de marzo de 2009

Entrepreneurship = Innovation

The economist acaba de publicar un survey sobre Entrepreneurship, un completo y profundo reportaje (as usual) al estado de cosas, al significado, a su relación con la economía, los negocios y la vida de las personas. Entrepreneurship, que en español traducimos como empresariado o emprendimiento, es objeto de estudio de la prestigiosa publicación inglesa como otras veces lo han sido las telecomunicaciones, o la globalización, o la energía. ¿Y qué halló su autor Adrian Wooldridge?

Extracto 1: el punto de partida (que nos hace titular Entrepreneurship = Innovation)

"For most people the term “entrepreneur” simply means anybody who starts a business, be it a corner shop or a high-tech start up. This special report will use the word in a narrower sense to mean somebody who offers an innovative solution to a (frequently unrecognised) problem. The defining characteristic of entrepreneurship, then, is not the size of the company but the act of innovation..."

Extracto 2: los empresarios innovadores están en...

"A disproportionate number of entrepreneurial companies are, indeed, small start-ups. The best way to break into a business is to offer new products or processes. But by no means all start-ups are innovative: most new corner shops do much the same as old corner shops. And not all entrepreneurial companies are either new or small. Google is constantly innovating despite being, in Silicon Valley terms, something of a long-beard..."

Extracto 3: Entrepreneurship, Innovation & incumbents

"As Schumpeter pointed out, downturns can act as a “good cold shower for the economic system”, releasing capital and labour from dying sectors and allowing newcomers to recombine in imaginative new ways. Schumpeter also said that all established businesses are “standing on ground that is crumbling beneath their feet”. Today the ground is far less solid than it was in his day, so the opportunities for entrepreneurs are correspondingly more numerous. The information age is making it ever easier for ordinary people to start businesses and harder for incumbents to defend their territory. Back in 1960 the composition of the Fortune 500 was so stable that it took 20 years for a third of the constitutent companies to change. Now it takes only four years..."

Extracto 4: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, incumbents & TICs

"There are many reasons for this. First, the information revolution has helped to unbundle existing companies. In 1937 Ronald Coase argued, in his path-breaking article on “The Nature of the Firm”, that companies make economic sense when the bureaucratic cost of performing transactions under one roof is less than the cost of doing the same thing through the market. Second, economic growth is being driven by industries such as computing and telecommunications where innovation is particularly important. Third, advanced economies are characterised by a shift from manufacturing to services. Service firms are usually smaller than manufacturing firms and there are fewer barriers to entry... The development of “cloud computing” is giving small outfits yet more opportunity to enjoy the advantages of big organisations with none of the sunk costs. People running small businesses, whether they are in their own offices or in a hotel half-way round the world, can use personal computers or laptops to gain access to sophisticated business services...The mobile phone has been almost as revolutionary. About 3.3 billion people, or half the world’s population, already have access to one. The technology has allowed entrepreneurs to break into what used to be one of the world’s most regulated markets, telecoms. And many developing countries have been able to leapfrog rich ones by going straight to mobile phones, cutting out landlines... This has resulted in a cascade of entrepreneurship. Iqbal Quadir, a Bangladeshi who emigrated to America to become an investment banker and then a business academic, had a dream of bringing mobile phones to his homeland. He struck up a relationship with Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, which provides microfinance, to turn the dream into reality. If the bank was willing to lend women money to buy cows, why not mobile phones? Bangladesh now has 270,000 phone ladies who borrow money to buy specially designed mobile-phone kits equipped with long-lasting batteries, and sell time on their phones to local villagers. Grameen has become Bangladesh’s largest telecoms provider, with annual revenues of around $1 billion; and the entrepreneurial phone ladies have plugged their villages into the wider economy..."

Extracto 5: Innovation & Economy (sound economy)

"Today entrepreneurship is very much part of economics. Economists have realised that, in a knowledge-based economy, entrepreneurs play a central role in creating new companies, commercialising new ideas and, just as importantly, engaging in sustained experiments in what works and what does not. William Baumol has put entrepreneurs at the centre of his theory of growth. Paul Romer, of Stanford University, argues that “economic growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable…[It] springs from better recipes, not just more cooking.” Edmund Phelps, a Nobel prize-winner, argues that attitudes to entrepreneurship have a big impact on economic growth... Another reason for entrepreneurship becoming mainstream is that the social contract between big companies and their employees has been broken. Under managed capitalism, big companies offered long-term security in return for unflinching loyalty. But from the 1980s onwards, first in America and then in other advanced economies, big companies began slimming their workforces. This made a huge difference to people’s experience at the workplace. In the 1960s workers had had an average of four different employers by the time they reached 65. Today they have had eight by the time they are 30. People’s attitudes to security and risk also changed. If a job in a big organisation can so easily disappear, it seems less attractive. Better to create your own..."

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