My colleague Jeremy Hall, a business professor and policy analyst from Simon Fraser University (SFU) in BC (formally at Univ of Calgary) has an interesting theory about entrepreneurship development in emerging transition economies like Bosnia, Russia, Ukraine or in South America (Columbia or Brazil).
I met Jeremy again last week at a conference on Innovation in Calgary where we both spoke.
Over coffee we touched on the growth of entrepreneurship in Ukraine. (see note below)
Hall compares entrepreneurial cultures on 2 scales (Education vs Alertness) Cultures that are well educated vs uneducated & Alert vs Myopic
So from a 2x 2 matrix you get 1) Uneducated & Myopic, or a Superstitious Culture; 2) Uneducated and Alert, or an Underdog Culture 3) Educated and Myopic, an Arrogant Culture and 4) Educated and Alert. a Superstar Culture
Here, I would classify Ukraine and its entrepreneurs (both SME and oligarchs) into 2 groups; Educated-Myopic (Arrogant) and/or Educated –Alert (potential to be a Superstar) according to Hall’s definitions
From this Hall next outlines 4 type of consequences:
1) Culture of Innovation; High Education; High Alertness; Attributes: Driven, visionary, able to see re-combinations, connections; Outcome: Productive
2) Culture of Complacency; High Education; Low Alertness: Attribututes: Arrogant, Overly confident Complacent; Outcomes: Unproductive
3) Culture of Stagnation; Low Education; Low Alertness; Attributes: Superstitious, ignorant, discouraged; Outcomes: Destructive/ unproductive
4) Culture of Corruption; Low Education; High Alertness; Attributes: Malicious Machiavellian manipulative; Outcomes: Destructive
I might classify Ukraine as a mixture of 3 cultures:
1) A culture of corruption (hopefully the next Verhovna Rada (parliament) & Yulia Tymoshenko should address these issues more thoroughly, and here I have in mind corrupt politicians and bureaucrats that deal with business at all levels as well as corrupt business owners themselves)
2) a culture of complacency (needs work and state vision-building) and
3) a growing culture of innovation (islands of genius, which need fostering, ....Ukrainian breakthrough research on quantum computing used by D-Wave in Vancouver, and other worldclass platform technologies developed in Ukraine such as hydrated fullerenes and other nanotechnologies, super caps etc) …..which leads to some hope for the future.
"Walter, as discussed, I'm very interested in your thoughts about what's going on in the Ukraine. I've done some field studies in Bosnia a few years ago, and suspect that Ukraine is undergoing similar transitions - entrepreneurship as a panacea, yet a lack of understanding of what that may entail - i.e. unproductive or destructive outcomes. In Bosnia we found that the potential entrepreneurs were well educated but myopic, and we remain perplexed as to how this may be changed, given the physical and perhaps more important mental scares suffered by our interview subjects."
Do you agree? disagree? have a new point of view? comments welcomed