Ross Bailey – 28th June 2011

What the **** is an ideapreneur?

Last week Olivia Solon (Associate Editor tweeted

@olivia_solon : “I’m a huge fan of the School of Communication Arts 2.0, but the term “Ideapreneur” is 100% unacceptable”

In many ways I agree with Olivia. Granted, calling “Ideapreneur” ‘Unacceptable’, is a strong statement, but if you take unacceptable to mean not conforming, nonstandard, offensive or undefined, then great – because these are all words that I would attribute to an ideapreneur.

Ideapreneurs push boundaries, go the edge, create change and challenge the traditional.

The Wired pages are full of words that are unacceptable to or unaccepting of, traditional language: Freemium, tweeted, Googled, the list goes on. All these words describe things created by people who changed the status quo, visionaries who created new ideas that did not conform to the standard of what had been done before. If the English language is alive – then new words have to be given birth somewhere. These newborn words describe a changing world, but can also proactively move the world around them.

So what is an ideapreneur?

Well as Marc (Dean of SCA2 and successful ideapreneur) says “What’s great about the word ideapreneur is that you already know what it means. It does not require any explanation.”

I really agree with him – I guess if I didn’t I wouldn’t be on the School’s Ideapreneur  pathway. Though I will explain what it means to me briefly…

To me an ideapreneur is a form of entrepreneur, (not separate, the word just defines a certain kind). An ‘entrepreneur’ can be defined as:

‘a person who organises and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.’

An ‘ideapreneur’; defines a single group within it, it defines the entrepreneurs that come up with original ideas that evoke change. They are the first to market, the ones that change the industry, disrupt the status quo and the way things have been done before.

An ideapreneur is inspired by the idea as much as the monetary gain, they want to see their vision come true. They want to take the coal and turn it into a diamond, not just take a diamond and flog it for more. A lot of entrepreneurs are parasites of Ideapreneurs, they invest in their ideas, take them over or re-educate them after they have trodden the initial path.

When Ideapreneurs succeed we see companies like Apple, Virgin and Twitter, founders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Jack Dorsey. Would you call these guys the world’s greatest business men (I could think of better) or the world’s greatest ideas men (I’d say they are up there)? I think it would be the latter. Of course they understand their way around a spread sheet, of course they get a buzz from the deal – it drives them, but it isn’t their focus, the great idea is.

Is the word ideapreneur a bit lame? Probably.  Did it inspire me to join the course? Definitely. The word wasn’t used just to be able to say we created another word (we have enough words), it wasn’t created to cause a storm. It was created because…. Well, what else would we call it? The School of Communication Arts is an advertising school, students core objectives are to create original ideas that communicate with the target market and sell.

Many of the School’s past students went on to become top ideas people, who created game changing businesses. So Marc decided when he reformed the school to create this new pathway. The objective has remained the same, “original ideas that communicate with the target market and sell.”  Instead of doing this for a brand, we create the brand. Would the school attract the same students with the word entrepreneur? For my part, the simple answer is no.

So we like unacceptable. Ideapreneurs are.

P.S. Olivia, on this year’s course there are three of us on the pathway that received funding.  We’d love to take you out for coffee to discuss the course, our ideas and why people like Saul Klein, Sir John Hegarty and Seb Bishop believe in the ‘unacceptable’ term.

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