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The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

The Surprising Factor Behind Entrepreneurial Success

The first step to becoming an entrepreneur is surrounding yourself with founders and startups.
When it comes to determining your ability to succeed as an entrepreneur, it may be less about who you know and more about where you grew up.
People who grow up in areas with lots of startups are more likely to pursue entrepreneurship as adults, according to a new study from the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance. Including individuals who describe themselves as "self-employed," the study looked at two sets of workers in Italy and determined that as the number of startups in a certain area increased, so too did the likelihood that people who grew up there would become entrepreneurs later in life.
"These results are not driven by better access to external finance or intergenerational occupation choices," the authors of the study write. "They are instead consistent with entrepreneurial capabilities being at least partly learnable through social contacts." 
The findings also have implications for how much success entrepreneurs will have in their careers. Among the individuals who became founders, those who grew up in areas densely populated with startups were more likely to be successful, as measured by business income or company productivity, according to the study. 
Entrepreneurs who lived in places with higher numbers of startups at the age of 18 also tend to adopt better managerial practices later in life, the study found. And companies run by founders who grew up in entrepreneurial areas have a higher output per worker. 
So where are biggest startup communities in the U.S., outside of Silicon Valley? Count yourself lucky if you grew up in Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Washington D.C., Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington, or Denver, Colorado.