Why do people become entrepreneurs? Why do they leave corporate jobs to do so? What are the biggest risks when innovating, and what does failure mean when it occurs?
These were some of the questions that Climate-KIC’s Director of Sustainable Production Systems, Sira Saccani, wanted to answer when she sat down for a roundtable with five cleantech start-up founders Jeffrey Provencal, rePATRN; Helle Moen, Minhoca; Sven Erni, Echojazz; Alex Melzer (Zolar) and Gael Levaud (Gazelle Tech).
Daily Planet: Why did you put together this video of climate innovators for corporates?
Sira Saccani: We thought it could be interesting for corporates to see what the realities are for start-ups. We got some quite interesting insights into their daily life and translated these into learnings for corporates.
I wanted to use examples of start-ups who had been in corporate jobs and left the corporate world to create their own business.
DP: What does this next generation of talent look like?
SS: There is a value shift among innovators. I think the one common element they all have is a sense of purpose, wanting to have a positive impact on the world.
How they do it is that they don’t wait for solutions. They don’t wait for the perfect moment, they react fast, and they accept failure. These I think are the common traits of the five people we interviewed.
DP: Why is risk and failure so important for the innovation process?
SS: It’s inherent to the discovery process.
When you try something new, you take a risk because you go outside your comfort zone, challenging the status quo. While you are discovering you probably identify or see things you were not able to predict before, and where you need to adapt and adjust.
It’s the seed for every innovation.
We are not machines or perfect, and we should definitely celebrate failure because it means that we as a human being went out of our comfort zone and gave ourselves the mental space to look at things from new and different perspectives.
In innovation the human aspect get a bit lost, so I think that it’s important to see failure as part of being human.