On the Circuit
Yesterday, Bytemobile Executive Chairman Hatim Tyabji and world-renowned innovation expert Dr. John Kao shared the stage at the Masters Forum in Minneapolis. For three hours, they addressed an audience of approximately 150 local business professionals on the complex relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship, with numerous examples and anecdotes drawn from their respective careers.
Hatim focused on the ‘dark underside’ of entrepreneurial life, which has been endlessly hyped and mythologized by the media. In this context, he examined the challenges of raising capital and managing a board of directors, as well as the success/failure rate of start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. He also discussed the troubling tendency of young entrepreneurs to target exit strategies and personal wealth rather than building a company to last and delivering sustainable value. Hatim closed his segment on a personal note with brief readings from his book – Husband, Wife & Company – which focused on family life as a true measure of success.
John Kao, an accomplished jazz musician among many other things, played improvisational riffs on a Steinway grand piano to illustrate the fundamental creative processes that drive innovation. He emphasized the balance of structure and freedom as well as ‘the purity of the beginner’s mind’ in the successful creation and delivery of disruptive technology. To ground these ideas in real-world examples, John detailed national innovation initiatives under way in countries ranging from Finland to China and Singapore to Chile, and profiled a variety of entrepreneurship and innovation models across business, government, society, and culture.
The program culminated in an hour-long question-and-answer session with the audience. Hatim and John fielded inquiries ranging from the relationship between invention and innovation to the unique leadership requirements for innovation to the role of innovation in mature companies. Hatim closed on a note of optimism that the U.S. would regain its global innovation leadership with the monetization of social media and the growth of the mobile Internet – to name two of many examples.
- Tod Bottari