Babson College, Business Innovation Factory Partner to Launch Entrepreneur Experience Lab
Novel platform will focus on illuminating entrepreneur experience and development of new entrepreneur support solutions.
Babson College and the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) have embarked on a new partnership to create an Entrepreneur Experience Laboratory that will accelerate the design and development of new entrepreneur support solutions.
Babson College and the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) are collaborating to create a real world laboratory to design, develop and test new entrepreneurship support solutions and systems. The Entrepreneur Experience Lab will develop a deep and ongoing understanding of the entrepreneurship experience through the lens of the entrepreneur, create a platform to design and test new entrepreneurship solutions and systems, and leverage storytelling and new media to share, understand, and accelerate entrepreneurial activity.
In an initial phase of ethnographic work beginning this summer, Babson and BIF will collaborate to:
- Create a first person characterization of the national entrepreneurial experience across diverse backgrounds and all stages of development
- Create an experimental platform for developing new solutions, such as approaches to teaching and training entrepreneurs, next generation venture accelerators, capital support programs, and community and organization efforts that build entrepreneurship capacity.
With the Entrepreneur Experience Lab’s launch, Babson and BIF seek to:
- Understand the human and environmental factors most relevant to entrepreneur success and the effectiveness of current development programs and policies.
- Provide an active environment to gather data and experiential insights that inform pedagogical practice and a platform to design and test new approaches to teaching entrepreneurship.
- Reflect the entrepreneur experience in a manner that illuminates elements of the experience most in need of intervention and innovation.
- Lay the foundation for creating a real world laboratory for systemic experimentation, where programs and services can be developed and tested within an integrated, real world environment.
- Build new visibility for innovative approaches to entrepreneurial support programs, models, and systems.
- Allow Babson students and faculty to directly participate in an ongoing program focused on R&D for new entrepreneurship development practices, programs and services.
“Our partnership with the Business Innovation Factory to launch a new Entrepreneurship Experience Lab is a natural extension of Babson College’s commitment as the world leader in entrepreneurship education,” says Babson President Len Schlesinger. “Work in the Lab will yield new insights to guide the next generation of entrepreneurial programs and policies, and give an authentic voice to entrepreneurs who drive new venture creation nationally and globally. We are thrilled to have BIF as our partner in this important endeavor.”
Beginning early this fall, the BIF/Babson team will undertake an initial phase of work to establish a strong foundation of knowledge around the entrepreneur experience and capture deep insights into the day-to-day experiences that most significantly influence entrepreneurial success. Building on this new map of the entrepreneur experience, the team will create a prioritized list of opportunities where the experience can be enhanced to accelerate new venture creation. In parallel, the team also will stand up a functional lab environment wherein new ideas can be developed, designed and tested in real world environments.
“The current entrepreneurship support system is well-intended but insufficient to stimulate entrepreneurial activity at the scale and scope we need to revive the global economy. The system needs more than a tweak—it needs a transformation,” says BIF founder and Chief Catalyst Saul Kaplan. “In most cases, the voice of the entrepreneur is all but absent from discussions about how to better support new venture creation and there is little ongoing experimentation to facilitate the design and development of new approaches. With the launch of the Entrepreneurship Experience Lab, Babson and BIF have the opportunity to leverage our unique strengths to change this dynamic.”
Imperative for Change in U.S. Entrepreneur Support System
Most economists agree that entrepreneurial activity is the lifeblood of a vibrant economy and central to long term, sustainable job growth. The current economic crisis has only magnified our country’s need to stimulate entrepreneurship and new company creation. The public/ private entrepreneurship support system that has evolved in the U.S. and globally is well intended but insufficient given the importance and scale of the job to be done to enable a significant increase in the number of serial entrepreneurs and successful new companies created.
Public sector programs at the federal, state, and local level are too fragmented, underfunded, and still too rooted in old industrial economic development thinking. Academic programs and policies are more focused on technology transfer and licensing opportunities than on creating a conducive environment for students and faculty to pursue entrepreneurial activities. Incubator initiatives have been more about subsidized space than about enabling serial entrepreneurs and start-up financing programs leaving significant gaps in the funding continuum.
The voice and experience of the entrepreneur is largely absent from discussions dominated by public and private sector institutions on how to better support new company creation. We need to rethink our country’s entrepreneurship support system and experiment with new approaches designed to enhance the entrepreneur’s experience and accelerate entrepreneurial activity.
About Babson College
Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit www.babson.edu.
About the Business Innovation Factory
The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) focuses on solving major problems of high social important by creating a place where partners can design and test new solutions in a real-world environment. An independent, non-profit organization created in 2004, BIF seeks to help organizations collaborate across traditional boundaries to design, test and implement new systems-level solutions to the major problems of our day. With a commitment to understand and improve the experience of the citizens at the center of these important systems, BIF focuses on events, programs and projects that enable partners to develop and test new models for delivering value across the public and private sectors and transfer these learnings back into their organizations. Central to BIF’s mission are our Experience Labs, real world laboratories where partners from across the public and privare sectors can design and test game-changing new ideas. www.businessinnovationfactory.com