Collaboration, Conferences, and Serendipity
Collaboration, Conferences, and Serendipity
Webster defines serendipity as “finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.” In this spirit, faculty, students, and colleagues may be interested in learning about the networking and opportunities that arise by taking a chance to present at a conference. In January 2016, several colleagues and I brainstormed about possible topics for a collaborative research endeavor and decided upon senior entrepreneurship (AARP, 2014; Isele, 2014; Stangler, 2014).
During the literature review, we stumbled upon Leuphana University’s call for papers which included a logical framework to structure the evolving research. In September 2016, we submitted our abstract and looked forward to learning from the experience. In October 2016, our proposal was accepted for presentation at the 7th Leuphana International Conference on Entrepreneurship in Lüneburg, Germany on January 19-21th, 2017.
I was privileged to present our nascent research to participants of the Leuphana Conference, who shared our conviction that traditional concepts of retirement are perilously incorrect. One Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences professor expressed interest in serving as guest speaker for the School of Advanced Studies and/or University Research Centers and is discussing options with SAS leadership. The parallel conference presentations included a "Meet the Editors" session, featuring editors of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Journal of Small Business Management, and Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies (Alexander Brem and Jantje Halberstadt, Eddy Laveren, and Jay Mitra, respectively). These editors reiterated the importance of rigorous methodology when submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals. Their comments validated the relevance of the School of Advanced Studies' quality review process in preparing students to share research with the community of scholars. On March 1, 2017, conference participants were invited to submit papers to the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing’s special issue on scaling social entrepreneurial impact, which our team has done.
In addition, Leuphana Conference participants were granted one-year membership in the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ECSB) and are invited to explore conference, presentation, and publication opportunities. ECSB is a non-profit organization whose mission is to contribute to the understanding of entrepreneurship and to the improvement of the competitiveness of European small and medium size companies. With around 500 full members and a network of 3000 ECSB friends from 40 countries, ESCB is the largest pan-European association of researchers, educators and practitioners in entrepreneurship.
Elizabeth Isele, a seminal thought leader and CEO of the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship (GIEE), invites partners to help collect, aggregate, analyze, and publish quantitative and qualitative data to measure the social and economic impact of senior and multigenerational entrepreneurship. As University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies faculty and researchers, our team reached out to Elizabeth to learn more about contributing to the GIEE collaboratory. She responded via email and telephone, providing additional information on the GIEE’s September 2016 "Re-Engineering the 21st Century Workforce" initiative with the University of Oxford.
The GIEE uses Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as a lens to reframe challenges and generate actionable ideas predicated on modeling the Experience Incubator® methodology (E. Isele, personal communication, November 18, 2014):
ET&A® and the catalytic effect of combining it with improvisation to create rapid ideation.
Decoding entrepreneurial history.
Design thinking to create a prototype solution to re-engineer the workforce to catalyze and optimize cross-generational experience.
In addition to partnerships between AARP, the Small Business Administration, and Kauffman Foundation, the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship is reframing engagement, retention, and productivity by promoting “Age Smart Employers” (GIEE, 2016):
Ernst & Young leads by example; data indicated higher corporate returns, with 20% productivity when a company fosters mentoring across generations in the workplace (GIEE, 2016).
Munich-based Siemens launched a “cross-mentoring” process, defined as older employees exchanging insights with younger employees for updates on the latest skills (GIEE, 2016).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides resources to promote senior entrepreneurs creating green businesses (GIEE, 2016).
The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women and the Chatham House Group, is using GIEE recommendations to develop policy priorities for the World Economic Forum in Davos and influence how W20 may use evidence-based advocacy to encourage inclusive growth strategies in G20 countries (GIEE, 2016).
In March 2017, Elizabeth invited our team to partner with her on research she may be orchestrating at Chatham House. My point? Collaboration and conferences can lead to serendipity!
AARP. (2014, February 12). Statement for the record submitted to the Special Committee on Aging and Committee on Aging and Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
U.S. Senate on: In search of a second act: The challenges and advantages of senior entrepreneurship. Retrieved from
Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship. (2016). Engage with us. Retrieved from http://experieneurship.com/engage-with-us.php
Isele, E. (2014, February 12). Testimony of Elizabeth Isele. Submitted to the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee before their JOINT HEARING: In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship.
Stangler, D. (2014, February 12). In search of a second act: The challenges and advantages of senior entrepreneurship: Testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging & the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.kauffman.org/what-we-do/research/2014/02/thechallenges-