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Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

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4 Learning about ideas

Is there such a thing as an ‘ideas person’? This course assumes not and nor does it assume that being enterprising is a trait you are born with. The assumption is that people can and do learn how to develop ideas. People who appear to be good at solving problems or identifying opportunities have learned to do so.

Obviously people are not the same, so are not all exposed to the same sets of opportunities. It is those differences between people that create diversity in views, attitudes and approaches, which result in different ideas. Indeed, being entrepreneurial is understood as having that ability to take advantage of differences (Blundel et al., 2018). To explore this further you will look at the example of James Dyson.

Box 1 James Dyson

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Figure 3 James Dyson

James Dyson was a product designer. He undertook a degree in design at the Royal College of Art and developed specific skills. Through his contacts he ended up working for an entrepreneur called Jeremy Fry who favoured a ‘hands-on’ approach to design and problem solving.

While working on renovating his house, Dyson encountered industrial extraction fans. Feeling frustrated by the poor suction of vacuum he used to tidy up post renovation, he wondered whether a solution from industry might work in a domestic setting. A few thousand prototypes later, a bagless domestic vacuum appeared on the market.

Clearly this account ignores lots of technical aspects involved in taking a technology that operates at one scale and turning it into a domestic product on another, but as an example it does demonstrate the value of learning.

Now listen to James Dyson offer his views on being an inventor.

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Video 3 What makes an inventor tick?
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Next you will look at the different ideas that are around us.