Are you ready to be an en­tre­pre­neur?

The Star (Kenya) - - Sasa Leisure - BY ALLA TKACHUK /@GreatWALKOfArt Alla Tkachuk founded Mo­bile Art School in Kenya. Be­come ‘Kenya Pa­tron of the Arts’. Con­tact Alla for more in­for­ma­tion on alla@mo­bileartschoolinkenya.org.

Vi­sion 2030 en­vi­sions eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity for all. En­trepreneur­ship is con­sid­ered key to achiev­ing this goal, but it en­tails more than a busi­ness plan and spread­sheets and ‘sell­ing toma­toes by the road’.

In our fast-chang­ing world, where ‘busi­ness growth is driven by cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion’ as per the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, cre­ativ­ity is a must-have skill. “With­out cre­ativ­ity,” says lead­ing in­dus­tri­al­ist Manu Chan­daria, “sur­vival is im­pos­si­ble.”

En­trepreneurs dif­fer from ‘tra­di­tional’ busi­ness­men and women. Their minds re­volve around in­no­va­tion: new prod­ucts, new ser­vices, new mar­kets, new busi­ness mod­els, new tech­nol­ogy. They al­ways think ‘im­prove­ment’ and act on it.

‘Tra­di­tional’ busi­ness­peo­ple think only of profit, not in­no­va­tion. As one se­nior ex­ec­u­tive told me, ‘There is no in­no­va­tion cul­ture in Kenya.’ They can­not think out­side the set frames, and fear to even ques­tion them.

En­trepreneurs in­vent the fu­ture, quite lit­er­ally, and there­fore, lead­er­ship — the abil­ity to bring change — is also key to their suc­cess. And here again, cre­ativ­ity comes first.

The cre­ative and prac­ti­cal sides of en­trepreneur­ship are closely in­ter­linked and go hand in hand with each other from start to fin­ish. The trick is to learn not to rely on oc­ca­sional ‘light bulb’ mo­ments but to think cre­atively on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

How to learn cre­ativ­ity? Ev­ery­one can en­hance his or her cre­ativ­ity. Art stud­ies are the most ef­fec­tive way to de­velop the ‘cre­ativ­ity soft­ware’.

Are you cre­ative enough to pur­sue the en­tre­pre­neur­ial ca­reer? Try to an­swer these ques­tions:

1. Do you be­lieve in cre­ativ­ity or think cre­ativ­ity is not im­por­tant?

2. Do you aim to do some­thing dif­fer­ent, to at­tract more cus­tomers, and to eval­u­ate new ideas to de­ter­mine their ef­fec­tive­ness?

3. Are you afraid to fail, or do you see fail­ure as op­por­tu­nity?

4. Do you strive to col­lab­o­rate with oth­ers and know that cre­ativ­ity likes team­work?

5. Do you know any cre­ative think­ing tools and tech­niques? Do you know where to learn them? If the an­swer is ‘no’, you can pre-or­der our ‘Cre­ativ­ity Know-How’ book by send­ing your re­quest to con­tact@ mo­bileartschoolinkenya.org.

If you wish to har­ness cre­ativ­ity is a startup, think along these lines. Find the need, the prob­lem, the ‘pain’ that you want to solve for your cus­tomers. Re­ally un­der­stand the prob­lem: what is the main ques­tion you want an­swered? Or­gan­ise reg­u­lar brain­storm­ing ses­sions with your team or as­so­ciates, and churn out ev­ery pos­si­ble so­lu­tion. Eval­u­ate ideas by ask­ing what prob­lem does your idea solve, who are your cus­tomers, what are the risks, and how to mar­ket the idea. Share ideas and get feed­back: ideas must be re­fined and fool-proof be­fore be­ing im­ple­mented.

‘Weirdo’ by JOHN NJERU, 21, and ‘Nairo­bian Girl’ by ISAAC MURAYA, 23, Kenya, 2016

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