David Harkins' Blog

Multiculturalism and Entrepreneurial Growth

A recent article in the Harvard Business Revenue (HBR) has me thinking about the push and pull theories of entrepreneurship a little differently. The HBR article explores how entrepreneurs and innovators in Africa are breaking through long-standing barriers of corruption, flawed infrastructure, skills shortage, and a mistaken belief that the country’s middle class provides the most promising market segment to achieve successes where global corporations could not (Christensen, Ojomo, & Van Bever, 2017). The authors suggest that entrepreneur’s desires “push” a product or service, while “pull” responds to the specific needs of the market (Christensen, Ojomo, & Van Bever). The

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Interview: Burgin Hardin on Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship

The following is an interview with Burgin Hardin, J.D., Senior Counsel, Boy Scouts of America National Council for my Entrepreneurial Innovation graduate course. Burgin and I once worked together and I value his guidance and opinions on licensing law, intellectual property, and frankly, about everything else.   Q. Tell me a little bit about your background (education and experience). Where are you working now and what are your primary responsibilities? How did you get started in the particular area of Intellectual Property (IP) law? A. I graduated from Davidson College and earned my law degree from Wake Forest University. Currently,

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Beating the Entrepreneurial Odds

The last few weeks we have explored the differences between creativity and innovation, the need to continually innovate the delivery of a product or service to the customer, and the value of “micro-Pivots” as a way of keeping the customer at the center of the business and improving profitability. All of these topics have roots in my reading of the Pursuit of Wow by Tom Peters, yet none of the concepts are explored explicitly in the book. The book itself is, as the back cover describes it, is a book that is “organized into more than 200 though- and action-provoking

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The importance of innovation for startup survival

A good many entrepreneurial ventures are born on a napkin, built on sand, and grown through a series of flips and flops that would make even the most seasoned stunt pilot nauseous.  It should not surprise then that longitudinal studies show that a little over 20% of new startups fail within the first year; the startup survival rate falls to roughly one-half around their fifth anniversary (Bureau of Labor Statistics Staff, 2016). Thinking more broadly and implementing effective organizational systems (i.e., planning, processes,  procedures) may be the key to building, scaling, and sustaining a startup long-term. Some researchers suggest the most

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Innovation: The key to entrepreneurial opportunity

Entrepreneurship in the United States is lagging. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 1994 and 2015, the number of new jobs created by start-ups decreased by more than one million (Bureau of Labor Statistics Staff, 2016). Insufficient financial resources, risk aversion, and perhaps the “lack of a good idea” are all possible reasons for the lack of entrepreneurial activity. Some research suggests those without experience in a start-up environment appear to be less motivated by the spirit of enterprise, and within a generation, the inclination to start a business may further decline (Guilles, 2016). Entrepreneurs may

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In The Pursuit of Wow!

I have to admit. I am a Tom Peters fanboy. I own and have read all of his books and began reading his first, In Search of Excellence, in the late-1980s shortly after it came out. I saw him in person in October 1997 at an event in Jacksonville, Florida in when I took members of a project team to one of his seminars as a team-building exercise to help facilitate out-of-the-box thinking. The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times was the book I was reading at the time, and I took it along.  During one of the breaks,

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