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Entrepreneur of the Year

| On 27, Dec 2006

Ellen Domb

End of year contradiction: there’s lots of good information in all the “best of the year” issues of magazines. But there’s less and less time to read it and extract useful lessons. BUT this is not going to be a TRIZ lesson on contradictions—just a quick view of a really great article.


Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year is Ken Hendricks, who started his career as a roofer and is now #107 on the richest people list, at $2.6 billion.  One of the things he is most proud of is that creating businesses means creating jobs and creating opportunities—at a recent managers’ meeting, more than half of the 600 managers had started with the company as warehouse workers, truck drivers, or—yes!—roofers.  


Does entrepreneur = innovator?   In this case, YES.  His business mantra is simple:
 Create Jobs
 Eliminate Waste
 Preserve Value


An example of all 3:  one company was paying for disposal of broken pallets.  Now, there is another company in the group that recycles pallets.  


Another example:  Hendricks operates world-wide, but the home office (and his home) is in Beloit, WI USA.   A large company that made papermaking machines closed, putting 1500 people directly out of work, and approximately 3500 in the businesses that serviced those people.  The buildings, over a million square feet, went unused.  Hendricks bought the buildings, started or helped start a dozen businesses, and developed over 1400 jobs.   And changed the look of the town, with giant murals on the factory.  


The reporter makes asked Hendricks when NOT to buy a business, and he rejected the question:
 Wrong location?   Move it
 Wrong people?   Make changes
 Wrong industry?   “I don’t believe it…machine tools … coal ….It’s how you look at something and how it’s managed that make the difference.”


I recommend the article — It is worth your time no matter what kind your interest in innovation.


Best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful and creative 2007!