A phenomenon such as the Slush (www.slush.org) is a sign that the start-up hype is storming in Finland. Slush is an annual event for start-ups and tech talent to meet with investors, executives and media. It is organized in Helsinki in November, that is when you can get a first hand experience of slush on the streets, and in just a few years it has grown a major start-up event in Finland and in Europe. It is a part of a movement that is taking place all over the world where young educated experts set up businesses instead of looking for positions in established organizations. Slush is the focal point for start-ups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives, and media.
The interesting question is why are well educated people ready to jump into an extremely uncertain work environment with well-known fact that most companies will fail and disappear after a couple of years. So what drives people forward to fight against the odds and all that uncertainty? With this questions in mind, I interviewed people who work in start-up companies and asked how they cope with the challenges they face in setting up a new business.
Using a framework of Appreciative Intelligence® introduced by professor Tojo Thatchenkery, George Mason University, USA, I found that the entrepreneurs were able to reframe the uncertainty in the business environment as an opportunity for personal learning and meeting exciting challenges. Also, they were able to see a quick career development as a positive potential in the situation. And finally, they were capable of acting on uncertainty and using it as an energizing and community building shared experience that fueled the entrepreneurs and their teams to make the future potential unfold in actions taken today.
According to professor Thatchenkery, people tend to reframe challenging situations in two contrasting ways – either negatively or positively. I was able to identify a tremendous amount of positive reframing in the ways the entrepreneurs perceived uncertainty in start-up business.
It appears that the start-up score high in Appreciative Intelligence® which helps them make a challenging situation into an exciting opportunity. The good news is that we can all practice Appreciative Intelligence® and put it in use in our own lives and at work.
Thesis: To the Unknown and Beyond: Appreciative Intelligence® in Start-up Companies
Thesis supervisor: Professor Hanna Lehtimäki
To learn more about appreciative intelligence, please visit www.appreciativeintelligence.com