Next-generation entrepreneurship through the lens of Spiral Dynamics

The world has changed. Next-generation entrepreneurship has become relevant than ever. Old ways of doing business have failed and new realities are emerging. In this new order, the entrepreneur who wants to succeed needs to be flexible enough to change their strategies and approaches as the market changes around them.

Old ways of doing business are being challenged

The emergence of new economic realities has challenged old ways of doing business. The new reality is a complex and turbulent environment. With a dynamic nature that presents continual change and challenge to the system. To be successful in this environment, entrepreneurs must learn how to respond quickly and effectively to sudden changes in conditions. While maintaining their ability to adapt over time as new information becomes available.

New challenges require a different approach

In the past, entrepreneurship was about starting businesses and leading them in the traditional sense. However, as the world changes and new challenges arise, so too will entrepreneurs change their approach. Meaning, new ways of thinking are required by those who pursue this path to succeed in today’s business world.

Next-generation entrepreneurship is not just about making the most lucrative business decisions anymore. Today’s entrepreneurs are building new solutions for existing problems by forming partnerships across industries and sectors, rather than starting businesses by (and mainly for) themselves.

To put things very simply: entrepreneurs need to transcend their financial needs. This doesn’t mean to ignore the financial aspect. But it does mean a shift of focus, from maximising profit to maximising a meaningful contribution. Due to the growing demand for meaningful initiatives, both pursuits (idealistic and financial) are beautifully going hand in hand.

Spiral Dynamics and next-generation entrepreneurship

Spiral Dynamics is an evolutionary framework that describes how values and beliefs evolves over time. It has been used to explain the evolution of many things including medicine, education, politics, and religion. It’s also very applicable for entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is a complex phenomenon that changes over time as well. It’s becoming more global and collaborative. More people are beginning to view it as a way of life: an ongoing process of innovation and change that happens when you have vision, purpose and passion. The type of entrepreneur we see today is very different from what was seen in the past. It’s becoming more complex and diverse.

When we consider the influence of Spiral Dynamics on entrepreneurship, it becomes clear that this model is a useful tool for understanding the way entrepreneurs’ value systems evolve over time.

We can see how entrepreneurs’ mindset evolves from being more focused on survival to being more focused on contribution. More concrete, from a mindset focused on acquiring capital (traditional entrepreneurship), to one focused on creating something useful for the world (next-generation entrepreneurship).

Entrepreneurs are driven by their values

The values of an entrepreneur shapes everything: from the business model, to your strategic direction, and even the culture of your business. Your values determine how you’ll operate as a business and what you’ll offer customers. In entrepreneurship, your success depends on the ability to understand and leverage different value systems — not just in your stakeholders but especially in yourself. This process includes being aware of the newly evolved values which are needed to face the challenges of today’s world, like climate change.

The value systems of entrepreneurs

Spiral Dynamics contains 8 value systems which ascend in complexity and compassion. Most people associate entrepreneurship with the orange value system, which is about competition, risk-taking, and strategically making progress towards goals. Often goals aimed at acquiring more financial wealth.

But as the world evolves, new values within entrepreneurs emerge. Our ideas about what makes a good entrepreneur is already changing. It’s not simply limited anymore to the desire to achieve goals that are important to them personally. Driven by the need for independence (not having an outside authority figure like a boss telling you what those goals should be). Next-generation entrepreneurship transcends these needs. The way we think about entrepreneurship is evolving and so must our entrepreneurial strategies in this new world order.

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