The future belongs to enthusiasts who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. They aspire to autonomy, they want to capitalize on their creativity, are willing to give a new meaning to their lives. The generation of the New Millennium is at the forefront of this avant-garde: in January 2014 the Deloitte Millennial Survey estimated that 70% of “Millennials” preferred to work independently rather than being employed in a traditional company. The entrepreneurial spirit is blowing even stronger than reported by Deloitte. A growing number of employees aim to act entrepreneurially in the company that employs them. Their aspiration is to create something that does not exist today. They are opening new professional careers in the labor market, those of the intrapreneur.
The new entrepreneurialism is immersed in the digital ecosystem that grows in tandem with the doubling of computing power every couple of years. Providing instant music downloads, being transported in a driverless car, conducting experiments with big data by tapping into millions of interactions, diversifying the personal port- folio of education and career development, enhancing the functionality of products with the Internet of Things, real-time monitoring of health and well-being: these are among the most common examples of the emergence of the new entrepreneurialism.
Who are the rulers of the winds of the new entrepreneurialism? Are they the policy makers, the incumbents in the markets or, as before, the vested interests firmly rooted in civil society? What if, instead, the ruler was embodied in those with passion – whether young or otherwise, but all of them smart – who, following Michelangelo’s thoughts, believe that “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark”?
Michelangelo’s thinking takes us to reflect on the genuine task to be given to public intervention – namely, to enable the emerging protagonists to conduct experiments in the void specifically created by instructive inaction as compared with the abundance of current legislation that intervenes to fill the void left by the industrial age of the twentieth century, which has exhausted its propulsive thrust.
Experimentation is the light that does not leave us in the dark in traveling through the tunnel of a long slump that entails major changes in the depressed economy. On May 22, 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this to say to the fellow members of the Oglethorpe University, “The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something”.
There is, perhaps, no field of action that surpasses education with regard to policy makers taking measures supported by intuition based on past experiences, when innovation was incremental and somewhat predictable. Compared to the policy makers entrenched in strongholds of the second millennium universities, the founding fathers of the new millennium universities are people so ignorant as to not know that their educational projects are not feasible and, if ever brought to completion, that they would not work. It is then that the pioneers try and make the best: their experiments succeed. The more the academic cum cursus honorum entrepreneurship front advances, the more universities of the past millennium are forced to retreat.
As in the case with scientific laboratories, the more entrepreneurial experiments that are carried out, the more likely it is that something highly relevant will emerge in terms of developing entrepreneurship. Among the steps to be taken there is the example of laboratories for experimenting with innovative business ideas and models. As experiments in the field of physics carried out at CERN in Geneva bring to light new sub-atomic particles, so do the experimental laboratories for innovative entrepreneurship having high potential for sustainable growth discover the variables related to the entrepreneurial innovation. In such laboratories, highly diverse people could engage in trial and error experiments aimed at giving rise to companies that take advantage of the opportunities opened up by the knowledge-based entrepreneurial society; a society which seems determined to solve the problems of humanity that have occurred since the last glimpses of the twentieth century. Free market capitalism would therefore take on a new form.
The reader may also refer to: Martin Curley e Piero Formica, The Experimental Nature of New Venture Creation: Capitalizing on Open Innovation 2.0, Springer, 2013; Piero Formica, Grand Transformation towards an Entrepreneurial Economy: Exploring the Void, Emerald Group Publishing, 2015.