I've been asked a few times about what I'm working on in simple terms. Not always easy for me - but here goes top-of-mind while riding the train...
My focus is on venturing and venture investing 'on the frontiers'.
- venturing is about organizing and directing resources toward a purpose
- venture investing is about improving the capacity of ventures to achieve their purpose (or certain milestones along the way)
- 'on the frontiers' means the places where conventional ways of doing things are least effective
My work is focused on being able to systematically improve ventures and venture investors operating on the frontiers. My belief is that by focusing here, practices can be developed and demonstrated that will themselves become conventional in time and thereby move 'the frontiers' greatly increasing our society's ability and capacity to take on our civilization's greatest challenges.
So how will ventures be different after employing these practices?
- more efficient and effective at getting things done
- better responsiveness to the environments it's operating within
- better anticipation and avoidance of 'crises'
- more flexibility in responding to immediate opportunities and challenges
- more focus on and faster progress toward fulfilling the purpose
And how will venture investors be different?
- better investee governance with less effort
- increased capacity of all portfolio companies (whether they've applied the approaches or not)
- better results from existing portfolio (fewer failures, greater success according to purpose)
- better able to go earlier with less risk
- better able to go deeper into realizing non-financial aims (particularly relevant for 'social' venture funds.
- lower transaction costs
And what's at the root of what's different?
- concerned with systems vs. plans
(Said in different ways - couldn't resist...)
- creating spaces for uncertainty to resolve itself vs. trying to solve uncertainty
- organizing under a purpose vs. organizing around an idea/product/service
- unfolding vs. turning inward
- enabling vs. constraining
- fluid vs. rigid
- framed vs. forced