Europe and Innovation – what does it take to create a European Startup Culture?

By | March 23, 2012

Europe and Innovation – what does it take to create a European Startup Culture?

Europe is big – but the problem is not Europe's size. The problem is the multitude of countries, laws, cultures, and languages you have to deal with in bringing a successful tech startup into the playing field. Culture is not something that can be imposed on people with different heritage who are all proud of their heritage and want to maintain it. It cannot be legislated into existance, nor can it be forced to exist by organized competitions.

Most of us are familiar with one, some two or three cultures. But all of them? Even if the EC does succeed in unifying the legal minefield, there still are large hurdles to overcome in comparison to other markets.

That said, I'll be looking forward to the results – I know there is innovation out there going beyond what the rest of the world has, it just doesn't stand in the spotlight often enough.

Reshared post from +EuroTech

European Web Entrepreneurship Initiative
Challenge already open

There have been many attempts to promote a culture of startups, the web and the next "Silicon Valley". In a refreshing move, the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly have launched a crowd-sourced project on OpenIDEO. "In this OpenIDEO challenge, the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Assembly is looking for help in identifying ways to improve the environment for online start-ups."

OpenIDEO is an initiative by IDEO UK to "include a broader range of people in the design process through inspiration, concepting, and evaluation". IDEO is a global design and innovation consultancy.

Euro Tech is delighted to see that the two items with the highest feedback on the site at the moment are "Admitting Failure" which is about embracing failure (unavoidable after all) and learning to "fail forward"; and "Business Model Canvas" (Which is an agile replacement for a Business Plan in a world where you don't even know who your customer is yet!). It's hard to inhabit the world of startups for too long without coming across these.

There are still ten days to submit your own suggestions.

In light of the recent Boston Consulting Group report "The Internet Economy in the G-20 – The $4.2 Trillion Growth Opportunity", this is a process Europe simply cannot afford to get wrong. Any European-wide effort has to be welcomed, and however broad, should lead to a wider understanding of the needs of startups and micro-business. Can the requirement to be Europe-wide be balanced with clustering of tech startups that seems to be required for them to really thrive? Anything at all that encourages an increase in entrepreneurism, however it is done, is positive.

"Europe, with its cultural diversity and world class universities, boasts a thriving entrepreneurial community. In fact, it has a lot of great web entrepreneurial success stories, from Rovio to Spotify to Xing." Some might say they've succeeded in spite of the environment in which they exist, rather than because of it! We are, inevitably, recognising the massive potential of this area and much more serious efforts to understand the strange world of startups are being made. With enough efforts like this more clusters will develop, and we might even find the legislators start to appreciate the massive growth that is only possible in a startup enough to take real notice of them! Perhaps they'll even come to understand them a little.

"On the surface, this challenge is about supporting and enabling web-based entrepreneurship; yet the positive benefits of encouraging this kind of enterprise creation run much deeper…" Undoubtedly, yet so often the view of "web entrepreneurship" is perceived as little different to selling widgets on an e-commerce site. If anyone at all inside parliament or the bureaucracy starts to understand, even slightly, strange concepts such as customer discovery, or pivoting as a result of initiatives like this can only be a good thing.

"The results of this challenge will be presented at the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels on June 21st and 22nd, and the European Commission is committed to implementing some of the top concepts thereafter."

If this can then feed back into legislation and appropriate initiatives for startups this initiative can only be wholeheartedly applauded. Perhaps we'll finally start to see a lessening of the rather negative view so common towards entrepreneurs in parts of Europe.

Can an organisation as large as Europe adequately support the agile and unpredictable world of startups and entrepreneurism? Is it possible for the worlds of bureaucracy and startups to meet without drowning the startup? So far this looks very promising…

Author: +Matt Holmes

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