One of the most established myths about entrepreneurs is that many large companies are the brain child of young and inexperienced, but brilliant, people working away tirelessly in a garage, trying out one thing after another (this is the legend behind HP,Apple, Netscape and many more). But reality seems to show that new busi- nesses often come out of the hybridisation of special talents that have been quietly maturing in previous jobs, working for the older and established companies.
Studies show that many new companies are, in reality, organisational products, which means that they are built up by professionals with longterm experience in an organisation and detailed knowledge of the field –particularly of its weaknesses and inefficiencies – and it is this knowledge that creates an ideal opportunity to launch a new business.
The legend of the entrepreneur tucked away in a garage may seem appealing, but it doesn’t correspond with reality, and it can mislead potential business geniuses of the future. Notably, the myth ignores the relevance of the innovator’s organisational socialisation gained prior to the idea’s development. The conclusion is obvious: if you want to create a company, rather than finding a garage, find a job in a company where you can develop your skills, until they reveal that idea that will become your own company.
A study sponsored by capital investment risk companies indicated that 91% of the companies endorsed by this type of investor were related to the previous professional experience of their founders. It is within conventional companies where future entrepreneurs acquire the confidence, business knowledge, and social connections necessary to embark on their own project.
Businesses are not born in garages, they are born in other businesses.
Understanding this now is of crucial importance. Because in these times of imagination with high economic potential, but immersed in an environment that is unwilling to invest in innovation, solid existing companies could contribute to the development of new wealth by guiding emerging businesses which can supply a vision their predecessors often lack. Stability in exchange for multiplied vision, and vice versa, something we discussed in the idea–force of Middleground.
The idea is that innovators working for companies would not be deterred by the limitations of a conventional way of working (the number of professionals who consider their company incapable of doing anything innovative is impressive), but that the company could provide the possibility of innovation from within. So that, perhaps, they would become intrapreneurs (innovators within the company) or entrepreneurs (creators of a new company, related or not to the original one).