Entrepreneur In Residence

I have decided to appoint myself ‘Entrepreneur In Residence" (EIR) for little m media.

The idea of an EIR is not new… venture capital firms, tech companies and others have been inviting startup-y minded folks into their ranks for years to help make sense of trends, cultivate new product ideas, and prioritize where and when to invest. More recently, media companies, non-profit organizations and various departments/agencies in government have embraced the idea as well, tapping successful entrepreneurs to help drive change within an organization or help solve specific problems.

There is a lot of debate about what exactly EIRs do… and while no two roles/programs are the same, you often hear about EIRs spending time meeting with startup teams, visiting incubators, convening futurists and other disruptive thinkers in discussion. Sometimes these EIRs have a specific agenda or focus, other times their mandate is simply to look for new and interesting things.

In my 'day job’ I am a strategist and writer for executive leaders at global brands, media companies, startups, nonprofits, political, and advocacy organizations.  As part of my work, I spend a lot of my time helping to frame, develop, launch and lead entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial efforts for clients, partners, and organizations that I support and want to help do exciting things.  I am also an entrepreneur (by choice, or maybe by default) – I run my own operation and am constantly building, or helping build, different types of ventures. 
I certainly spend a lot of time and energy thinking about my own work…  what kinds of projects can I best support, what do the organizations that I work with need most, what do I believe needs to change about the world… and experimenting with different ideas and approaches.  But I know I could be more organized and focused.
And so… I have decided to give myself the title of “Entrepreneur In Residence” at my own company.  The idea is actually very simple… I am giving myself the assignment of driving more and better innovation within my work – by working to make sense of trends, cultivate new product ideas, and prioritize where and when to invest my time, energy and funds.  Maybe the stuff I figure out will help transform my business offerings or approach to work.  Perhaps I will come up with new ideas for products and services that clients and partners will find useful. I might meet some new co-conspirators along the way.
My plan is to focus on four specific areas:
  • PRODUCTIVITY: How can I work smarter and be more effective? How can I better capture and make use of the experiences I have, the people that I meet, the ideas that I generate?  Are there productivity hacks that can improve my output, or systems that I can use to optimize the way I work?  Are there tools that I should be using, or that I should be developing - and what will it take to find, create, and make those changes?
  • CREATIVITY: How can I put myself in a position to generate the best, most creative ideas, or do the most compelling work - for myself and for my clients?  What else do I want to learn how to do, or get smarter about?  How can I take my work, in all its forms, and make it that much more 'creative’?
  • PRIORITIES: There are simply too many things I want to do… and like everyone else, I can do a better job prioritizing. That’s not just in the context of my work, but also across the rest of my life. What data, or other inputs, should I be using to decide where to spend my time? How can I prioritize my efforts to maximize learning?
  • COMMUNICATION: So much of what I do relies on my ability to persuade, inspire, and connect with people.  What is changing about how we get/share information, and what influence does that have on my communication(s)? How can I improve my own communication(s) - and the support I provide to others?  What do I want to write/speak about, what messages do I think people need to hear?

I haven’t figured out all the details.  Suggestions are welcome. If you have an area where you think I should focus, or a challenge to offer, please let me know. 

What I know for sure… this is a big challenge and a big responsibility. There is a lot that I can learn, and want to change, and need to do better.  Committing some entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial time and focus is what it will take to make things happen.  So that’s what I am going to do. And the rest… well, the rest I will figure out as I go.