A guide to raise entrepreneurial kids (Part 1)

To be at the top of the game, an entrepreneur requires creativity, empathy, communication skills, problem-solving ability, practical maths, and a knack for spotting something at the right moment and having the confidence to act. These key traits of entrepreneurs like presenting an idea, handle objections, or guide someone through tough decisions have their origin in the early stages of development and can be found at home or school in everyday activities. Let’s take a quick look:

1.Developing basic skills

To be at the top of the game, an entrepreneur requires creativity, empathy, communication skills, problem-solving ability, practical maths, and a knack for spotting opportunities at the right moment, and the confidence to act. These key traits of entrepreneurs have their origin in the early stages of a kid’s life and can be found at home or school in everyday activities. Although these kinds of skills -presenting ideas, handle objections, or guide someone through tough decisions- are often associated with entrepreneurs, are in fact the basic set of skills for kids that grow up ready to take on the world, ultimately steering them towards the right opportunity. Kids that develop the passion, the attitude, the skills to spot opportunities, resilience, faith, not afraid of critics and failures, are prepared to handle whatever life throws their way.

Starting at home: There are so many activities and fun things for kids to Inspire and nurture these skills. From negotiating what’s for dinner, or making decisions about planning the week, putting someone in charge of a task or a special event at home, like planning a Bday party.

Home is the first place where kids get to learn how to be in the future.

2.Home-made skills

Raising kids with an awareness of entrepreneurship and its core skills can change their life for the better. Kids don’t need to actually be running a business, employing people, or pitching ideas to investors to gain these skills. Being a kid is already a serious business for them, so learning these skills should be fun and lighthearted. Kids are already practicing these skills at home at one point or another:  pitching, negotiating, decision making, leadership, customer service, and creative thinking. 

Practical examples: there are so many activities and fun things for kids to Inspire and nurture these skills. From negotiating what’s for dinner, or making decisions about planning the week, putting someone in charge of a task or a special event at home, like planning a Bday party. Challenges can be really fun and character-building.

Encouraging healthy debate about ways to help people or coming up with ideas to solve a problem so they can create their own framework for decision-making.  Simple ideas that are fun, entrepreneurial and valuable. The earlier someone learns these skills the more second nature they will be in the future.

3. Opportunities are everywhere

Finding entrepreneurial opportunities involves playing and observing real-life situations. Allowing kids to experience and interact with real-life entrepreneurial scenarios will open their eyes to the possibilities. Not only in opportunities but also different people with different skills. Being open to opportunities means seeing the possibility and abundance of options and results, incorporating the notion that opportunities are everywhere, they just have to be found like a treasure hunt.

Great entrepreneurs look at problems and see solutions and disruption it’s only a chance to add value. They constantly think of new ideas for products, services and new businesses. Their brains become trained to seek out opportunities, working their idea muscles every day until eventually, success becomes real. Inspiring kids into an opportunity-seeing mindset involves thinking in that way yourself. 

Foster questions that make kids think and observe their own paths and actions, opening playfully to the idea of “Why not” or “What if” Bring entrepreneurial opportunities closer by talking about their everyday activities and connect them to businesses or professions around them. Ask how they do, and how they do it, and which problems they encounter. Understanding the needs of the businesses all around you helps kids to become aware of possibilities, sparking ideas they could get involved in.

Practical example: observe situations around your home, neighborhood, or even current events that present a problem and need a solution, and bring up what could be done to solve the problem and “how could you be part of the solution, and what could you do about that?” Things like organizing the attic or organize a garage sale, or transforming a room into a ‘painting studio’ or maybe learning about things that might stir interest or relatable to kids like the technology behind video communications, healthcare professionals, or the different disciplines behind making videogames or a cartoon show. Kids will be fascinated.

Situations that need a solution at home or in the neighborhood and bring up what could be done to solve the problem and “how could you be part of the solution.


The business of creating tomorrow

Discovering your future and the right opportunities is a life-long journey. There are many careers and jobs, some more creative, some more pragmatic. But the heart and mindset of an entrepreneurial person go beyond the career choice and is a process that begins even before you start college. Our day-to-day is filled with uncertainties, markets keep changing, we are saturated and overloaded with information. How can we trust we are making the right decisions, choosing the best opportunities and developing the right skills? While the answer is different for every individual, the first step is always the right mindset.

Recalculating your thoughts

We value intelligence, personality, and character. But what is it? Luck, chance, genetic predisposition? Some believe success is based on natural abilities, others, in learning those abilities. Others think that “it is what it is”. Perception and how you see yourself can change everything. What you ‘think’ of yourself is who you are.

It’s crazy how our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect our decisions, especially at work, in our careers, in the direction of our future. And doesn’t matter if you are 7 or 47, those beliefs and mindsets will guide your steps. Is true, we all have different situations, but those conditions are not set or final, they are a starting point. And that’s where your ‘mindset’ comes in handy. What you think and believe of yourself is what’s happening: where you are right now is a result of that. And pandemic doesn’t help. neither instagraming, or streaming your day away.

Changing your beliefs can have a powerful impact on your mindset. Imagine if you could “recalculate” your direction? From the way relate to others, the way you make decisions, career or romantic ones. Normally we connect the term “successful mindset” with entrepreneurs. And that’s correct, but its just the tip of the iceberg. Learning, overcoming, trying. Imagine what would happen if you think of failure as a learning opportunity?

More than skills, it’s a vision

Entrepreneur and entrepreneurial concepts have certainly many things in common. But is like comparing a Jirafe with a Rhinoceros: they both have four legs, two eyes and many share many genetic traits and DNA -they even live in the African savanna- but, you don’t need to be a zoologist to recognize they are two kinds of animals. Building the mindset is more related to ‘purpose’ than to a set of skills. An entrepreneurial attitude is at its core level, resolving a problem by working out a solution. A mind is inspired by belief, that inspires others. Confident and positive, creative, resourceful, and resilient, capable of distilling concepts and ideas into actions and decisions, generating momentum an atmosphere for things to happen. An entrepreneurial person goes beyond creating a business or a start-up, an entrepreneurial person is someone who terraforms their environment, decisions, and actions into creating their own future.

More than teaching business to kids, our focus should be on inspiring them to develop their own abilities, confidence, and possibilities so they can find their own mission, understanding value, and whatever success means for them. And even in the most adverse conditions or failure, kids (and adults) will be able to find their way and purpose.

Learned skills or natural traits?

Why some people look at change and see opportunity, or when they look at problems they see solutions? Some people, when challenged, rise above and were doubted they exceed all expectations. Why? Is this a natural gift of nature? Although we are all born with a specific set of genes, with no control over our genetic allocation, we now know our lifestyle choices and different experiences through development and maturity also influence gene expression and thus exert influences over our behavior

Everyday experiences instill the “entrepreneurial” mindset, beginning within our family, and later when we go to school, college, the friends we have, and finally at the workplace. The sooner you start to understand and use these traits, it becomes a habit.

While entrepreneurship skills can be learned, and become a successful business entrepreneur, a classroom environment has its limits. Inspiring a mindset is a hands-on process, especially when you focus on leadership (and team development). Entrepreneurial instincts are naturally incorporated at home, by family members or observing other people, even friends. They may not use MBA or Masters terms, but they do understand the actions that matter to achieve success. And it focuses not only on their personal success but on helping others to reach their success.

Some people look at change and see opportunity, or problems and see solutions, like Neo when discover how the matrix operates behind 'the world’.

Where do we start?

The first step is to do a bit of “spring cleaning’, let some fresh air into the mind. Take a moment to look at your ‘mindset’ and visualize it. Are you aware of your abilities? how do you perceive your value? What do you love to do (having an ice-cream sandwich doesn’t count… unless you are planning to develop an Ice cream empire, you see, a passion can become a skill). Normally we connect the term “successful mindset” with entrepreneurs, but there’s so much more.

Strengthen confidence and trust in your abilities will boost your decision-making skills, your learning skills, and your time management. Imagine having more time to improve something you like or do something completely new. The simplest change in your mindset can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. Imagine if you could “recalculate” your direction? From the way relate to others, the way you make decisions, career or romantic ones.

 

Practical application: if you feel brave enough, write down a list of your skills -even if it sounds small or unimportant- You might discover hidden or untapped skills. Write also what you are good at, and what you’ll like to improve. Also, exercise looking around. Focus on small situations and things that are important to you. Successful moments, mistakes…what is worthy to repeat and what to do differently. Understanding the value you could bring to your situation is the springboard to your future. Even if is a small thing, the payoff is giant. It will literally change the course of your actions. Learning, overcoming, expanding your tent. Imagine what would happen if you think of failure as a learning opportunity? or an obstacle as a chance for developing skills. The sky is the limit.

Creating an entrepreneurial mindset means inspiring people to believe in themselves and to dream big about what their future could be. It’s guiding people, teams and organizations to see the potential in ideas and situations, both individually or part of a group or community. Its creating a future.

Next: How to raise entrepreneurial kids.


Transforming Anxiety into Creative Energy

Fast-paced enviroment, calendars max-out with meetings, full inbox, and 4pm calls leave us with very little time for strategic activities. Even the best jobs and the best teams experience this pressure in one form or another. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier we feel we have no time to accomplish what is important to us and also to the organization advance. A week goes too fast and too furious.

Time constraints can get the better of you, and this anxiety bleeds over into how we interact with people. We want to inspire our team, but we literally don’t have the time.  How can we find the precious balance, be a good leader and still get things done? The answer maybe a bit hidden in between of meetings and dayly routine.

Small moments, big opportunities

Every day is a combination of smaller moments. So if we take those moments apart,  into smaller, more manageable situations we can make more sense of our busy schedule. With this deconstruction process we can take any situation apart and then assemble it back together in new and unexpected ways (my partner specializes in fashion pattern deconstruction and was the inspiration for this idea). Elements on a situation may have been intermingled and the way you deal with one will impact on other parts of the problem. 

How we use the small moments and brief interaction in our day? Small gestures and invisible situations can bring out the best leadership inspiration. We cannot fix everything, but we can make a difference. It makes me think of the small pebble creating big ripples in the water. I dont think even the pebble knows what is creating behind. Leading and inspiring is something you get better with practice and its done in step by step.

The first thing is to identify what these small moments in our everyday conversations and interactions at work, and even at home. We are too busy to take time but with little attention you’ll see them very clear as Neo sees the ‘Matrix’. You can seize a small moment into a learning opportunity.

Finding the ‘smaller parts’ can be a challenge, but once you identify this, everything becomes much easier and more productive.

Making space in our busy schedule is a challenge, but this terraforming creates an opportunity to growt and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services. Creativity is an energy and whether you realize it or not, you emit and receive energy. We have an electromagnetic field in which creative energy flows naturally, but when the polarity is disrupted our team creative energy system is affected. Is vital to pay attention, because is subtle but escalate quickly.

Become a power converter that change anxiety into creative energy

One of our focus, besides deadlines, meetings and product development is to motivate team members to grow, encourage intelligent dialogue, infuse confidence, and empowering the reach their best of their skills.Everything we do is fueled by it and foster creative energy is vital to the team and the work.  

Find quick opportunities to grow a creative playground

  • Don’t try to solve the problem, listen first.

  • Create a space for dialogue and growth.

  • Give specific, constructive feedback.

  • Take time to know people.

Don’t try to solve the problem…first listen: When someone comes to you for help, we rush giving people suggestions when they ask for help. Ask them what they think would be a good solution and then create a space to implement it or try it out. By this, the team member can develop ownership of the solution, as they learn how to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Create space for dialogue and growth: People are afraid to admit a mistake because of the consequences, understandable. But when someone comes and says, “I think I made a mistake.” Don’t jump at it with all your artillery. Create an environment for growth and show them you trust them, even when there’s a mistake in the middle. We all make mistakes, remember. Think about the time you screwed-up and how you’d liked to be treated. This is a critical moment, especially in the process of innovation where failure is essential to the exploration process.

Give specific, constructive feedback: Concentrate on positive and specific suggestions on the situation and behavior. Not the person. Kindness and accuracy are important. Finally, what was the impact of the conflict or situation? Feedback is not criticism or praise, it is about observation. It’s timely and specific. It describes but doesn’t judge, and brings an understanding of the situation or issue. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to develop others, creating a pattern of learning and growth.

Take time to know people: teams are made of people, personalities and attitudes. Recognize the diffences and look for ways to connect similar interest. A quick ”How are you, how’s everything? can open up a dialogue. Kindness is never out of fashion, and a bit of empathy can overcome frustrations and give you understanding on and how to offer support. It’s about build connections to inspire growth. Especially with creative teams, artists, designers, developers, well…everyone. Strive for authenticity, not perfection. Remember that conversation is with people, not to people.

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash

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UX Designers: Bestias Fantásticas y dónde encontrarlas.

Cada vez que me preguntan  “¿Que es un diseñador de UX?” Lo primero que pienso es… ¿por donde empiezo?. Parecería que un especialista en UX es como un  animal mítico del que todos hablan y, pocos han visto uno.

WTF es UX Design?

El primer punto en este camino es aclarar que que diseño de UX no es diseño visual. Muchos conectan equivocamente al especialista en UX con diseño gráfico y, viceversa, muchos diseñadores graficos son “diseñadores UX/UI” (esta mezcla de disciplinas me da miedo!!) Si bien ambas disciplinas comparten ADN, la realidad es que son dos criaturas muy distintas. El rol de un especialista en UX es muy diferente. Es importante tener una vision holistica de las disciplinas que intervienen para generar una experiencia de usuario, pero el profesional de UX es una bestia aparte, a menudo, incomprendida por las empresas, y considerada como un lujo. “El diseño no es sólo cómo se ve o cómo se siente: Diseño es cómo funciona”, nos dijo una vez Steve Jobs y, realmente estoy deacuerdo.

Diseñador es alguien que aplica metodologías y prácticas de Design Thinking para resolver cualquier tipo de desafíos, ya sea de negocios o personales. Quizás aplicas estos procesos durante tu dia y no te das cuenta. Yo he visto a mi madre “Prototipar” con post-its haciendo una lista de mercado y como podría ahorrar tiempo en el supermercado a partir de un diagrama de ‘navegación’ y sus ‘objetivos’ de compra.

El segundo punto en esta definición tienen que ver con el enfoque que se busca en cada proyecto o cliente. Para algunos, el rol del UX specialist va mas allá de la plataforma y ven a los usuarios como clientes que utilizan herramientas digitales para interactuar con las organizaciones y sus productos. Para otros, es una especialidad dentro de la experiencia del cliente, pero en cada uno de sus definiciones, el punto en común es el usuario.

El especialista UX busca representar y comprender al usuario -y aun mas allá de eso- educar a las organizaciones y equipos de trabajo, acerca de las necesidades, desafíos y puntos críticos de los mismos, y luego alentar al equipo, trabajando en conjunto para crear una mejor experiencia.

Perfiles de UX designers segun su background

INVESTIGADORES 

Disciplina de nicho, muchas veces es considerada un lujo más que una necesidad. Los investigadores ayudan a las empresas a desarrollar un plan de investigación para conocer en profundidad a su publico y usuarios a través de diferentes metodologías. Encuestas, entrevistas, pruebas de usabilidad y resonancia de marcas, estudios etnográficos, etc, proveen a las empresas datos cuantitativos y cualitativos revelando preferencias, detalles, lógica de interacción y emociones para el uso de productos y cumplimiento de metas de negocio.

ESTRATEGAS

Desarrollan proyectos de investigación y diseño. Toman los datos y conclusiones obtenidos en la investigación y los sintetizan en un sistema de diseño de alto nivel, crean identidades o perfiles de usuario, escenarios y journeys. Los estrategas generan un sistema de diseño abstracto que sirve como modelo conceptual para crear un modelo concreto y real.

ARQUITECTOS DE INFORMACIÓN

Los arquitectos de información son el punto de transición entre la estrategia y el diseño, aportando una vision general del usuarios a quienes esta destinado el producto o servicio y resolviendo el diseño abstracto en una experiencia completa. Desarrolla los site maps, wireframes, describiendo en detalle cómo las interacciones del usuario deberían comportarse desde un punto de vista funcional.

DISEÑADORES DE INTERACCIÓN

Muy parecido a los AI, con la diferencia que su resultado proviene de la evaluación Heurística (EH), un análisis de usabilidad y calidad de uso de una interfaz desde patrones existentes, relación entre el sistema y el mundo real, consistencias y estándares, flexibilidad de uso, diseño minimalista y/o experiencia personal.

STORYTELLERS

Proporcionan una comprensión detallada de las estructuras de contenidos (noticias, sub-títulos, teasers, cuerpo, imágenes, etc.), taxonomías (estructuras jerárquicas para categorizar y relacionar el contenido) y el storytelling emotivo que forma la historia generando en una narrativa global que crea un impacto y adhesion en el usuario.

DISEÑADORES VISUALES

Los diseñadores visuales tomar el wireframe y lo convierten en diseño, recursos o assets necesarios para hacer un producto real. Muchos diseñadores cuentan con background en print, tipografías, identidad de marca, etc. Los buenos diseñadores visuales entienden que la usabilidad, elementos cognitivos y jerarquías de la UX pueden son afectados por color, tipografía y composición, teniendo un fuerte impacto en la experiencia de usuario más allá del atractivo estético.

INGENIEROS DE UI

Transforman los documentos de diseño en productos reales. Dependiendo del nivel de complejidad de los proyectos, pueden tener un background como ingenieros de software o experiencia en desarrollos web. Son pocos los profesionales de este subconjunto que puede realizar todo, desde investigación hasta implementación.

Espero esta mini guía sirva de ayuda a la hora de buscar un perfil, ya sea generalista, especifico o híbrido de estas disciplinas. Lo importante es tener en claro cual es el foco del proyecto o de nuestro cliente, nuestro primer usuario. Te comparto una frase de Donald Norman, un capo de la ciencia cognitiva, Co-Fundador del grupo Nielsen y ex VP de Investigación de Apple:

“No es suficiente que creamos productos que funcionen, que sean comprensibles y utilizables, también necesitamos construir productos que traigan alegría y emoción, placer y diversión, y además, la belleza de la vida a las personas”.