Changing Minds to Mindsets

Fostering biomedical and clinical innovation will mean creating entrepreneurial universities that have entrepreneurial faculty that graduate all students with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Fostering biomedical and clinical innovation will mean creating entrepreneurial universities with academic entities, like medical schools, that have entrepreneurial faculty that graduate all students with an entrepreneurial mindset.

There are six characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset.

1. Personal growth relates to the size of the challenge, not the size of the kingdom. What motivates real innovators is the more exciting challenge, not the number of people reporting to them. The “size of the difference” they will make is more inspiring than the “size of the business.” They relish getting out of their comfort zone, and into the unknown.

2. The new direction is the challenge, not the destination. The challenge is the transformation vehicle for true innovators, and not a performance goal. They focus on legacy creation, not legacy protection. They ignore failures and are constantly looking at the progress made. They treat innovations reviews like performance reviews.

3. Real innovators attack, rather than defend, forces holding people back. They start by questioning the world order rather than conforming to it. They begin by confronting the forces holding everyone back, rather than living with it. The forces include mindset gravity, organization gravity, industry gravity, country gravity, and cultural gravity.

4. New insights come from a quest for questions, not a quest for answers. This discovery mindset searching for new questions drives real innovators away from more of the same. They fundamentally become value seekers; they look for value in every experience, in every conversation. They don’t seek prescriptions, they seek possibilities.

5. Stakeholders must be connected into the new reality, not convinced. True innovators tip stakeholders into adopting and even co-owning the orbit-shifting idea. They go about tipping the heart first, assuming the mind will follow. They seek smart people, who openly express their doubts, and then collaborate to overcome them.

6. Work from the challenge backward, rather than capability forward. Overcoming execution obstacles is combating dilution, not compromising, for these innovators. Their mindset is not “if-then” but “how and how else?” They convert problems to opportunities, and often the original idea grows far bigger than the starting promise.

Training minds is easier than changing them. Changing mindsets is even more difficult than changing minds.

Both students and faculties need to be more proactive than reactive to opportunities, and they need administrators and leaders to provide them with the innovation systems and infrastructure they need to thrive. Too much of academe is about features, not benefits; problem solving, not problem seeking; spoon feeding, not challenging learners to figure out how to feed themselves.