Entrepreneurship and innovation must be nurtured

If you're a Thomas Friedman fan, you know he doesn't write much about the world of PR. But he might as well have in one of his recent columns.

If you're a Thomas Friedman fan, you know he doesn't write much about the world of PR. But he might as well have in one of his recent columns.

Headlined “The New Untouchables,” Friedman writes that in addition to our banking system needing a “reboot and an upgrade,” so, too, does our education system.

Against a backdrop of who is getting laid off in this economy and who isn't, a clear trend seems to have emerged: “Those who have the ability to imagine new services, new opportunities, and new ways to recruit work (are) being retained. They are the new ‘untouchables',” he writes. Those simply waiting for the economy to improve so they can resume their jobs the way they had in the past are the very people apt to be let go.

Friedman's bottom line: The long-term solution starts with our education system. We need to improve how we teach the basics and add to that mix the importance of teaching entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.

Well, the same is true in terms of what we have to teach and nurture with our own people within our own organizations.

In corporations and institutions around the world, these are exciting times. Sure, the current economy makes financial performance somewhat challenging, but we're also living through a period of transformation. The revolution of how people get and share information, the explosion of conversational media, and the dilution of traditional “controlled” communications is upending how all companies operate and achieve business success.

The only thing we know for sure about a revolution is that its result will leave us in a very different place.

The future is only starting to take shape. We must all become creative entrepreneurs, even within our own companies.

A bias for innovation is desperately needed today in corporate America. It's what will help pull us out of our economic decline and, more importantly, what will drive our future.

Friedman is right that educating our kids for these attributes is essential for our future. But nurturing these traits right now inside our own organizations is no less vital to our companies' and our personal success.

Bob Feldman is cofounder and principal of PulsePoint Group, a communications management consulting firm. He can be reached at bfeldman@pulsepointgroup.com. His column focuses on management of the corporate communications function.

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