24 Jan 15|Culture

Of course, the best risk takers are the ones who have nothing to lose…

I was listening to Bill Gates talk about philanthropy, education and innovation the other night on Radio National and was delighted by the announcer’s closing statement, “To draw more people into thinking big and outside the square, we must change how we teach”. Well, for my money that means teaching EVERYONE – from school children to the elderly – that it’s OK to MAKE MISTAKES and it’s OK TAKE A CHANCE (no my keyboard isn’t stuck on caps lock – yes I am shouting).

Of course, the best risk takers are the ones who have nothing to lose…

Amy Cosper, Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur, opens her May editor’s note with “Rules – I never met one I liked” (see full article http://entrepreneur.coverleaf.com/entrepreneur/201205?folio=16#pg18). I couldn’t resist – I instantly fell in love with her thinking. A few years ago we went with several other families to a camping site for a long weekend. This holiday location was full of signs that started with DON’T!

Don’t Run

Don’t Ride Bikes

Don’t Disturb Other Guests

Don’t Leave Your Rubbish…

Get the picture? We were on the lookout for the “Don’t Have Fun” sign. As you could perhaps imagine, there were several comments made about the Nazi sound and strict operations of the park. We couldn’t contain our laughter when the Park Supervisor appeared on a small moped with a helmet like Schultz used to wear in Hogan’s Heroes.

There are a couple of entrepreneurs with colourful “Oops I think I broke the Rules” stories. Sara Blakely is the founding CEO of Spanx, a hosiery brand.She launched the brand from her home and it’s now worth more than $1Billion. The story goes that Nieman Marcus, a department store in the USA, agreed to stock Spanx (well the buyers did) and try the range out with its customers. They tucked the product up the back of the store and let the big names occupy the point of sale positions.

Sara Blakely took herself off to Target and visited the hardware section where she purchased a quantity of metal shelving. Somehow this metal shelving found itself at Nieman Marcus, near the front of the registers. Miraculously, the shelves were soon occupied by Spanx hosiery. The only reason  the “ghost who installs shelves and stocks them with Spanx” was identified, was because Sara Blakely was caught on CCTV.

Richard Branson talks about the intrapraneur – entrepreneurs little brother. An intrapraneur is an employee given freedom and financial support to create new products and systems without having to follow company protocols and routines.

Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Steve Jobs (Apple) were all risk takers and they all broke Rules. They challenged the status quo and jumped (at times leapt) outside the square. Happy crawling, hopping, jumping, leaping…

“To draw more people into thinking big and outside the square, we must change how we teach”. 

“To draw more people into thinking big and outside the square, we must change how we teach”. 

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