1.1 My impressions of innovation and entrepreneurship
In the following activity, you will consider your existing ideas about innovation and entrepreneurship.
- What words or images come to mind when you hear the words innovation or entrepreneurship? Write down these first thoughts before continuing with the task. In the case of an image, try to give a short description.
- Now watch this six-minute video, which profiles , a community-owned wind farm that began operations in the south of England in 2008.
Record your responses to the following questions:
- a.What (if anything) about Westmill Wind Farm would you describe as ‘innovative’?
- b.Who (if any), of the people featured in the video, would you categorise as ‘entrepreneurial’?
- c.What types of challenge has Westmill Wind Farm experienced over the years?
- d.How would you determine whether Westmill Wind Farm had achieved its aims?
- Watch the video a second time. Revisit your answers, modifying them if necessary.
- Look back at the ideas about innovation and entrepreneurship that you recorded in question 1. Would you change them after watching this video?
We selected a slightly unusual example of innovation to encourage you to review your existing ideas and assumptions about innovation and entrepreneurship. Consider, for example, why you thought a particular feature of Westmill Wind Farm was innovative – did your list include the wind turbines (i.e. the technology) or did you see it as too well-established to fit that description? Did you identify other features, such as the financing and ownership model (i.e. a community-based online share issue), or did that fall outside your image of innovation? Turning to the search for entrepreneurs, did you see the founders of Westmill Wind Farm as fitting that category? If so, what was it that made them fit your definition? If not, why did they not meet your criteria for being an entrepreneur? Would you categorise any of the other people featured (e.g. the local investors or the volunteers at the open day) as entrepreneurial?