Sep 5th, 2019

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From (Their) Children

Let’s talk about something different today: Education.

One of the most common questions I get after one of my talks, is a variation of “What shall I teach my children in this world of ever-accelerating change?” Inevitably I start off my response with some variation of me (somewhat) jokingly telling the audience that they should begin by taking their kids out of school — as most schools just don’t prepare our children adequately for the future.

In a world where we will have artificial intelligence everywhere, robots taking over more and more manual labor, computers continuing to get better and cheaper, and all of us being able to communicate, collaborate and learn from each other with just a few taps on the screens of our smartphones — most of the knowledge and skills which served us well even a decade or two ago, doesn’t serve us well anymore.

Instead of trying to staying ahead of technology, we ought to focus on the skills which make us uniquely human: Empathy, collaboration, problem discovery, complex problem solving, decision making in ambiguous situations, design thinking, wild and radical creativity…

We ought to make sure our kids become better humans — not better machines.

But it is not just our kids (and here is where we come full circle): The very same skills our children need in this new world, are what makes an entrepreneur successful as well! The best entrepreneurs are not the ones who can recite the most case studies, can rattle of all of Peter Drucker’s writings, or can recite the Agile Manifesto — no, the best entrepreneurs are the ones who figure out what the job to be done is for their client, who have the empathy to walk in their customers shoes and see the world with their eyes; all the while also being able to zoom out and envision solutions, products and services.

What is good for your kids is good for you — and vice versa.

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