Adam Lent writes about "Venturists" in his RSA blog A new type of entrepreneur is transforming our world for the better: the ‘Venturist’. He paints a clear picture of "Venturists" and their typical mindset. As I was reading it I was thinking "I recognise that reality from my explorations in the Landscape of Change". So, with great appreciation to him for sharing the Venturist idea so clearly, I plan to explore some key features, and some similarities and differences.
The idea of the "Venturist"
Adam Lent wrties
I wrote a blog post suggesting light-heartedly that we ban the word ‘entrepreneur’ because of its misleading connotations and replace it with a completely new word – I proposed ‘Venturist’.
I was intrigued by that idea because it fits well with my personal uncomfortableness with the e-word. I'm a social innovator, I have a good track record of innovation and making things happen, but as I understand it I'm not a social entrepreneur, because I never did any of it as my day job (see Social innovators, social entrepreneurs, and working "for free" )
I relate to what Adam Lent says about the e-word tieing in with ideas of successful money making. I've always felt a bit of a fraud when I've been with what I think of as "proper social entrepreneurs" because, for better or worse, I've never had the necessary "whatever" to go after funding in an appropriate and effective way. I won't detail the path that led me to feel for a long time that looking for money was too much of a distraction and a probable waste of time. I knew that I valued what I was doing (obviously I did or I wouldn't have given it so much of my time, energy and financial resources) but I didn't see how it fitted into the world of funding bids and such like.
Now I needn't feel ashamed about not being an successful entrepreneur because there is an alternative label. I can call myself a "Venturist" instead. Or can I?
Adam Lent coined the term Venturist for "a new generation of young entrepreneurs who seem to me to be all about the mission rather than the money". So, as a Venturist it's okay for me to be more about mission than money, which is reassuring. As I read more in A new type of entrepreneur is transforming our world for the better: the ‘Venturist’ I discovered that they're "usually young" and I definitely don't belong in that category. Apart from that how do I match up? In the section below I've highlighted the bits that apply strongly to me (all the ventures apply).
The rise of the venturist
Adam Lent says
Every era has its iconic lifestyle. A way of being that comes to encapsulate the aspirations and values of a generation....
a new type of icon tailored for an era unlike any we have experienced since the end of the Second World War.
The Venturist is usually young, energetic and sharp but, most importantly, they are on a mission to solve a problem or seize an opportunity. The nature of that venture can vary widely set up as a charity, a business, a grass roots movement, a loose network or an on-line initiative with a focus on anything from supporting a local community to providing a service to customers But whatever the form, venturists have a burning desire to be “an agent of change”…
Venturists don’t wait for or ask others to deliver. They get on with delivery themselves.
To read more: Download the Irresistible Rise of the Venturist paper (PDF, 133KB)
Some key ideas
Some key ideas that I relate to very strongly are about relationships to people and to the Internet, and a shift to recognising wealth that is not financial. Adam Lent describes it like this:
Venturists recognise that the fuel that drives a successful venture is connections. Obsessive networkers Venturists are always on the look out for the .. person who can bring them a bit closer to securing that mission. The relationships Venturists form are complex and, unlike the conventional business world, are far from always based on payment. Venturists know that motivations these days are varied. Drawing on good-will,for example, can take a venture a very long way.....these days a person’s wealth is as much about their network as their bank account.
For the Venturist, the internet is now just a part of their infrastructure – very much the means not the ends of their mission. It is certainly true that establishing a venture without employing all the resources the internet has to offer would put your average Venturist at something of a disadvantage. But today’s venture is no more about the internet than a business in the 1980s was about the fax.
That is also how it is in the Landscape of Change, and in my experiences in Dadamac. I love that expression about the Internet being part of our infrastructure. It is an integral part of the idea of Landscape of Change. In Dadamac too it is the Internet is that holds us together, and gives us our form. We could not have come into existence before it existed. We have emerged with it. We are fluid in our form, flowing together through the Internet (in different ways at different times). In the Landscape of Change, people are attracted by overlapping interests, and our behaviour is directed by streams of information, collaboration, knowledge sharing and co-creation, far more than by financial agreements. From what Adam Lent writes I believe that Venturists would feel at home with us there.