3 minute read

Episode 605: Unlocking the Entrepreneurial Spirit on Your Team

6/27/2023 7:00 PM

With all the high-tech innovations coming to campuses, it’s easy to overlook the need for a human factor in the spirit of transformation. Joe Abraham, operating partner at Beyond Academics, recently joined the FOCUS podcast to weigh in on how to encourage innovation by understanding teams through the lens of entrepreneurship. Abraham is also the author of Entrepreneurial DNA, which explores four entrepreneurial archetypes, and shares how each applies to higher ed. By understanding your team’s entrepreneurial DNA and building a team strategy with those strengths in mind, Abraham says we can see that the real key to innovation in higher ed is not technology, but the human factor.

Beyond Academics

As Abraham explains, Beyond Academics operates in three parts. The first is research and development into what the future holds for higher ed and how entrepreneurial behavior will affect the college enterprise. From the conclusions found in this research, Beyond Academics consults campuses in need of help developing and executing new strategies.

“What we try and teach schools is look, figure out who you are, who are your people, and let's build strategy around you. Rather than trying to be someone you're not,” says Abraham.

The final component of the operation is finding innovative tech companies to invest in and bring into Beyond Academics’ partner program to advocate for in the ed-tech space.

Entrepreneurial DNA

In Abraham’s book, he uses the BOSI model to categorize the four types of entrepreneurial DNA present across all people. This breaks down into having builder, opportunist, specialist, or innovator traits. He applies the BOSI model across institutions to gain a better picture of higher ed’s entrepreneurial makeup.

Builders are focused on scaling a business fast and account for around 15% of staff in higher ed. Success for them is measured by infrastructure — which when applied to higher ed, could mean payroll and available square-footage on campus.

Opportunists make up around 6% of people in higher ed and are money motivated. They tend to take high risks for high rewards and are natural promoters for what they are passionate about.

Specialists are the most common in higher ed and found in 58% of staff. They are experts at what they do, consistent, and work hard to build a reputation for their institution. Specialists are the opposite of opportunists.

Lastly are innovators, who are driven by a mission or purpose and the inverse of builders. They want to change their industry and see how their work impacts people. Innovators make up 21% of higher ed staff.

DNA for greatness

There are three principles for how a campus’ entrepreneurial makeup can be applied to strategy: individually, at a team/management level, and institutionally. Communication is key to creating success at all levels. Abraham finds that grouping opposite DNA types can create a balance of behaviors in team dynamics. Each type has its strengths, which can be the perfect complement to another type’s weaknesses.

Know your archetype

Abraham’s BOSI assessment is available for free, or for a small fee for team use. With these DNA types, institutions can learn how to set their teams up for success, which in turn will set a solid foundation for encouraging innovation.

Learn more about BOSI here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gYe7KlqFMo

Get a copy of Entrepreneurial DNA here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrepreneurial-DNA-Strengths-Successful-Business/dp/0071754512