Last week, I had the opportunity to join Kevin and Martin in (sunny!) Edinburgh and attend the first stage of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Masterclass taught by non-other than Bill Aulet himself.
Bill, for those of you who don't know, is not only the Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; he is also an inspirational and motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur and a great teacher. The masterclass consists of 24 steps (two stages) and took place in the recently re-branded DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, which offers spectacular views.
The first day of the event begun with an introduction of all participating new and "old" ventures and continued with a number of thought-provoking discussions, educational case studies drawn from Bill's vast experience and deliberation of latest/modern approaches and ideas in business e.g. the Blue Ocean Strategy book, which my best pal in INSEAD tells me is considered a strategy Bible over there.
What I found really exciting is how interactive the workshop was, with all partakers expressing opinions, asking questions and at the end of the day, really helping each other to better understand the subtleties of (new) business management (under the creative guidance of Bill of course). Later on, we had the chance to network over a glass (or more) of wine and then finish off the day with a delicious dinner. A few recent EDP graduates joined the dinner and shared insights from their Boston experience and how the MIT program positively changed their companies.
Day two did offer good weather, too and when Bill arrived at the venue, he declared: "I woke up this morning and saw a strange round yellow thing in the sky". I particularly enjoyed this day because we had to apply each of the 13 steps to our respective businesses, which was useful as it validated that Stream has been doing things right, but has also helped us to identify certain areas that need to be further perfected. All in all, this has been a great experience and we will definitely be using the valuable knowledge we gained in the continued growth of Stream.
Most of you have probably heard before that entrepreneurship, at its core, is about "serendipity"; however its implementation is not. It has also been claimed that entrepreneurship is for people who are somehow genetically predisposed to it and that it cannot be taught. The two days in Edinburgh proved the first statement right and the second wrong.
What is more, I now believe more than ever that the glamor and allure of successful organisations can only be accomplished by their adopting a rigorously-structured and systematically-executed approach to building a customer-orientated business. And last but not least, my time at Stream has so far shown me that entrepreneurship is not only all that, but also about finding new, innovative and clever solutions to perplexing problems; it is about having a can-do attitude, being creative and resourceful while enjoying yourself and making friends - all of this is part of our ongoing quest to meet and exceed customer expectations.