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GEW12 What Entrepreneurs #Need2Know

Leveraging limited resources, we assembled at the Innovation Warehouse in the City of London to deliver a service to hundreds of entrepreneurs from around the world.  In total we were joined by people from 47 different countries.

The question we asked was “What do entrepreneurs need to know in order to succeed?”.  GEW ran a twitter campaign under the #Need2Know and together we spent 3.5 hours discussing the question and its answers.

The beauty of a parallel thinking processes is despite differing opinions from the experts on the panel a collective consensus came together.  One guy in Rwanda wrote to tell us that we’d saved his business that day.  Many people confirmed that the exercise had given them the strategy they needed to succeed.

If you’re in the process of starting or building a business then you will benefit from watching the recording of the event.

373 Brainstormers from 47 Countries participated in this live Brainstorm

#Need2Know @TGBrainstorm


On Think Thursday, the 15th of November 2012, the Global Brainstorm hosted a mass meeting of minds and a cross-cultural collaboration online as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

In total we were joined by hundreds of participants from 47 different countries. People from places as far afield as Singapore, Zambia, Cyprus and Chili, Brazil and Belgium, Australia, Sweden and America, Canada, Rwanda, Argentina, China, India and South Africa, Paraguay, Pakistan, Panama, Gambia, Mauritius and Iceland joined forces to formalize ideas as a panel of experts met to transfer knowledge at the Innovation Warehouse in the City of London.

One participant wrote to reveal that we had saved his business that afternoon. Another commented on how amazingly innovative and inspiring the event had been. Many expressed their sentiments with comments on the site and by sharing their learning through social media.

It was an engaging inspiring, educational and entertaining afternoon from which further insight may be gained. One fundamental question was asked at the start of this brainstorm:

“What do Entrepreneurs need to know in order to succeed?” 

 Here is a summary of the answers revealed:

Entrepreneurs need to know how to think for themselves.

  • Not enough attention has been paid to thinking.
  • Thinking skills are easy to learn and teach.
  • The Whether Forecast™ is an excellent way of thinking and working.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to acquire and transfer knowledge and skills.

  • Mind maps (used by all Fortune 500 companies) are great ways of managing mass information.
  • Plug-in the gaps in your knowledge that is missing by learning from others on and off line.,, the British Inventors Society and the Innovation Warehouse are valuable resources of innovation and entrepreneurial material and minds.
  • LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are excellent tools when transferring interests online and it’s important to connect to others with whom to share and learn.

Entrepreneurs need to know when to nurture their ideas.

  • Open source idea evolution brings about a better received result in an age of accessible global communication.
  • In certain situation securing intellectual property is essential to commercial growth.
  • Ideas do not evolve in isolation – talk to your community about the problems they face before disclosing your proposed solution.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to overcome inherent fears.

  • This comes with clarity of ideas and focus on short term goals.
  • Knowing what to do next and how best to do it.
  • Accepting iterative growth and failing fast to learn from mistakes.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to connect to each other and build communities.

  • Mentors within reach who may add wind to your sails.
  • Communities of like-minded people on similar journeys – on and off line.
  • Your own community who share your vision – your raving fans.

Entrepreneurs need to know that they are building a business in the snow.

  • Arguably the global recession is a period of prolonged “snow” in accordance with the Whether Forecast™ metaphors.
  • Having learnt to survive, we may thrive by enjoying the moment, the connections we make and the simple, childish pleasures in life. 
  •  “Where would you throw a metaphorical snow ball?”
    Progress somewhat slows in snow conditions but the prevailing winds blow strongly towards more and more start-up success as policy makers and educators of entrepreneurship continue to experiment and understand how best to support the start-up entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to align their actions to their genuine dream.

  • It’s all too easy to build the wrong dream and lose control of your life.
  • It’s too easy to dream big without implementing the detailed steps and necessary action to make this dream a reality.
  • Momentum is magic when you build action constructively, collaboratively, continuously and consistently towards where you really want to go.

Entrepreneurs need to know when to be realistic about their vision.

  • Blind optimism will carry an entrepreneur confidently through early challenges because self-belief is high.
  • Failure to see perils and pitfalls can be costly in terms of cash and confidence. 
  • The positive power of negative speculation can prevent problems when precautions are pre-planned.
  • Dreaming big is a common characteristic among those striving for to continued growth.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to keep going when their world seems to crumble.

  • Mind-set matters – understanding why you feel a certain way can help you to change that belief for one that better supports you. 
  • Look behind the cloud to find the sun.
    Accept that change is the only certainty and be prepared to allow your thoughts, ideas and actions to evolve.
  • Find the stories that support you and cultivate your own communities. 
  • Stay connected to more than one group of people (in and out of your working environment) and join in with the activities of Global Entrepreneurship Week to meet more like-minds!

Entrepreneurs need to know how to leverage limited resources.

  • Cash can be an enemy– keep your overheads low and bootstrap all of your operations.
  • Face problems and objections firmly and learn to foresee such situation before they arise.
    Know when to ask and how to repay a favour and use your connection to gain greater credibility.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to make up their own rules.

  • Who tells you that you can’t do something? Set your own rules and be prepared to bend them.
  • Give yourself permission to have crazy ideas, other people may steal parts of them but they cannot possess your broader scope and vision.
  • Manage change by means of measuring progress and maximising the use of your time.

Entrepreneurs need to know how to maintain a sense of humour!

  • Movember madness managed to make its way into the Global Brainstorm. The light hearted approach to prostate cancer awareness demonstarates the power of humour.
  • Edward de Bono confirms humour to be the most significant activity of the human brain.
  • We all had great fun delivering this event – thanks for joining in!

Innovative Ideas In Need of Further Attentions…

TakeMe2: An interactive smart phone app that allows your friend to take you to a concert, event or other location when you’re unable to be in the room. Using the smart phone camera and a streaming connection you’re able to view the room as if you were standing next to your friend effectively allowing you to be in two places at the same time provided you’re connected to somebody who’s already going there. Grow your connection in this community by connecting to people who are going to events you wish you could go to. Ask the question “Is anyone going to (the Global Brainstorm) on (Thu 15 Nov) – if so, please TakeMe2?” and watch as your connections grow. The person taking you to the event benefits by collecting streaming credits according to the length of time he or she keeps you in the room during the event – these are redeemable against their own viewing time. Viewing credit may be purchased if the participant has been unable or unwilling to host a friend – a certain amount of free viewing credit is available upon sign-up.

MapMyMind: Using the Whether Forecast™ to make sense of your experiences.
PlugInProgress: An accountability system of action learning and cross cultural collaboration.

A template for

The National Brainstorm: in the run up to a general election – an alternative addition to the traditional debate– watch this space and contact Celia for added information!

In conclusion this was an extremely valuable exercise that should be repeated across a number of questions and conundrums of which educational reform should be on the agenda. The need to learn to learn better is more important now than ever – we will deliver a live event again.

Thank you for contributing to this collective conclusion.

The Panel:

  • Celia Gates:  Host and founder of the Global Brainstorm, creator of the Whether Forecast™
  • Kane Kramer: Chairman British Inventors Society, Inventor of MP3 technology
  • Tony Fish: Founder Innovation Warehouse
  • Brigitte Summer:  Turnaround Coaching
  • Marc Ortmans:  Founder IdeaSpace Global and Global Entrepreneurship Week delegate
  • Liam Hughes:  Entrepreneur and founder of
  • Andrew Wilcox:  Cadre Consulting and mind map expert.
  • Gemma Thompson:  Social Media Illumination
  • Martin Hayler:  Physical Trainer
  • Malcolm Cook: Media Student

Guest Interviews from:

  • Edward de Bono:  Founder lateral thinking
  • Jonathan Ortmans:  President GEW
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