Last week I caught Doug Richard, known from Dragon’s Den, and now the School for Start ups, at The Centre for Creative Collaboration. He was talking about Entrepreneurship and creativity. I’m sharing what he said here because the majority of Milestone Planner users are innovative, entrepreneurial businesses.

“The first thing is: There is a presumption that entrepreneurship is about science and technology, whereas entrepreneurship, in large part, as far as I can tell, is about friction. It’s about collision. It’s about things running into each other. It’s about two people sparking off of one another, and not solely in the areas of science. In fact, I would say it is more so in the creative arts. One of the things that I really find quite astonishing, coming from California in particular, is the prediliction we have for assuming that the great new innovative entrepreneurs are in large part flowing out of universities, direct from the science labs, when in fact they are sneaking out of most of our art colleges, without any due regard for the any of the provenance that they might have…”

“…but I do know that entrepreneurship is largely successful when people collide. That is – and you guys are choosing to use the word collaboration, I would use other words that are slightly more violent, because I like to see people forced into an incubation, into collision with each other – because it is out of those creative tensions that interesting ideas come, and quite frankly functional projects; things that you can do something with.

“Whether they are for a social entrepreneurial outcome, an artistic outcome, or an entrepreneurial outcome, it makes no difference. The goal is to take people who are wrapped up in their passion and to find ways to express that passion, whether it is through a social route, or through an economic route. And, interestingly enough, I believe that’s all entrepreneurship, because at the end of the day you cannot solely depend on others to bring things to the world, you have to bring things to the world yourselves.

The bold text is my emphasis. Doug went on to talk about the newly launched C4CC, which you can read more about here. The big take away from the evening for me is that it is far too easy for us to forget how creative the process of business is. Businesses create – make if you must! – things; products and services. We often view that as a mechanical process, which it perhaps is for the mass manufacture of products, but the process of generating a new product or a knowledge-based service is essentially a ‘creative’ one, in the traditional sense of the word. That creativity is stimulated by collaboration. As Doug puts it, the sparks that come when people collide. The knack is to capture that creative spark, and harness it into a plan – a set of aims, objectives, commitments – that can be easily flexed and adapted.

Integrating creativity and process, that’s the entrepreneurial business, and what we are aiming for in Milestone Planner. Perhaps art and business aren’t so far apart after all.