Why Entrepreneurs or Innovators should learn some Chinese
The topic I want to share today, as mentioned in the title, has something to do between Chinese and Entrepreneurship/Innovation Management.
My own hand-caligraphy using ProCreate
As showed in the graphic above, there are a few words starting with the Chinese word “創(CHUANG)”:
創意 means “Creative Idea”, from solving daily problems to starting one’s own business, you need to have creative ideas.
創新 is the word for “Innovation”, it is a combination of two words: the first one is about “breaking something existing” and the second one is “new”. Probably in ancient China people have already thought about “radical innovation” can NOT be achieved without breaking something existing.
創立 means establishing, creating or founding. For example, Scientist establish a new school of theory, entrepreneurs build their companies.
創業 is the word for “founding or enterprise building”. If you add the word “精神” (spirit) behind it will become a new word “entrepreneurship”.
創傷 means injury or wound. Actually this word has nothing to do with entrepreneurship or innovation in Chinese. False position here.
Joseph Schumpeter made the word “Creative destruction/Schöpferische Zerstörung” famous; we come across the word “Disruptive Technology” quite often. Words like “destruction/Zerstörung” and “disrupt” have a close link to “injury/Verletzung” and “wound“.
Just a few examples:
Alibaba disrupted the supply-demand-relationship of small business in China and enabled the booming of e-Commerce for small business via online-platform. The traditional supply chained got injured.
AirBnB disrupted the supply-demand-business model of traditional hotel business and enabled private house-owners to offer space for accommodation. The traditional hotel business got injured.
Tesla disrupted the automobile industry by promoting futuristic design, user-friendliness and feature-updating at any time from any where, if the car is connected. The traditional automobile OEMs (with the focus on motor performance) got injured.
Examples are plenty. The question is WHO disrupts and WHO gets injured.
The above mentioned ones are disrupters from outside of the industries. There are also examples of self-disruption:
Un- or less successful examples: Kodak missed the development of digital camera, Blockbuster missed the streaming business.
(Sofar) Successful examples: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen’s transformation to offer more online-business as selling hardware, Tencent allowed WeChat to challenge her own QQ-business and thus disrupted the total social networking landscape in China.
Sometimes they are called “reinventing oneself” or in some literature “the willingness of cannibalization”.
No matter where does the disruption come from or how you name it, there is one thing similar: INJURY and PAIN.
And this is the point I mentioned at the beginning: you might be creative and innovative, you might have entrepreneurial spirit, you might be founder of a startup or a successful company, all these are related in Chinese to some words starting with 創(CHUANG). But also be aware of another Chinese word “創傷” meaning injury or wound. Be ready to be injured, get hurt and bear wound (and be resilient to recover). INJURY and PAIN are also related to all the entrepreneurial activities or innovation management.
One last Chinese word to close:
Or “No Construction without any Destruction”
(First published on Linkedin in November 2020)