Monday, July 20, 2009

Entrepreneur Hats ...

Critical functional areas of a successful business are depicted in the diagram. In the context of
Metaphors for the 21st Century (M21C) these are Marketplace, Production/Service, Development, Research and Business. This was introduced in the blog Seeing the Invisible.

Taking this chart and redrawing it to emphasize the critical hats for the Innovative Engine we have five critical team hats as shown in second diagram.
Five of these hats are defined at M21C Described.

The Innovation Engine is depicted here with the Team Hats focused as follows:
  • The Customer Hat is focused on the needs of the Marketplace.
  • The Technologist Hat is responsible for producing wares & services of highest quality, lowest cost, timely delivery and customer attractiveness.
  • The Engineer Hat designs and develops prototype wares & services that meet the next wave of marketplace needs.
  • The Scientist Hat explores and provides proof of principles, works out the physics and mathematics of devices that can provide options to Engineers in designing or enhancing the products for production and marketplace.
  • The Business Hat looks at the big picture and coordinates the system to make a profit. This hat is also the core Entrepreneur thrust of the team, other hats are expected to be Entrepreneurial in thinking.

These were introduced in the January 12, 2009 blog “NC Research Parks .... New Backbone”.
For several years, I have felt we need some way to introduce the concept of Pre-college Innovative Engine (PIE) to students of the next generation workforce. It seems to me if they started thinking in the context of M21C, some would get a head start on making use of thinking that will help to give our country a competitive edge in the 21st century economy.

Over the years, I have been looking at how the schools and various groups are approaching this important task. From my vantage point none of them effectively give the insights that are built into M21C thinking of the five team innovative engine hats.

In my volunteer work as the IEEE Central NC Section Education Activities Champion, I have attempted to plant the seeds of the importance of thinking of the various functions of the five team hat. Since we are promoting Engineering as a career option in the outreach into our K-12 schools, I have found using the diagrams shown above have been helpful in discussing the difference of Engineering and Engineering Technology Majors as described in In fact I have been using these diagrams since the early 1990s when I was teaching at NCA&T to help the students get an understanding of the different career options; it has been a robust model for discussing this with them.

In the April 18, 2008 blog a diagram of creative work from “Tough Choices or Tough Times” report was introduced. I have found the Creative Work Diamond in diagram parallels the concepts of Research, Development/Design, Marketing and Sales of the M21C innovative team. The Global Supply Chain Management is not depicted in the above M21C diagrams but is discussed in “Focus on bestChoices Functions”.

The following diagram includes a Logistics hat to connect Innovative Engines and represent the Global Supply Chain. This effectively gives a way of thinking about the complete product flow from materials to end product.

The next visual is an attempt to introduce the

concepts discussed above with an activity for students that create hats representing the various team functions. The idea is to form teams of Innovative Engines and Logistics for simulating the Global Supply Chain and then provide challenges for the students to create their own business and industries.

Hopefully this will get students to thinking outside their normal boxes toward an innovative economy, which it seems we are in need. The diagrams introduced in this blog do not cover all important functional areas; these are expanded on in other metaphors in

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