It has been a great privilege to be Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL and inevitably as I pack my bags to make the long trip from Gordon Street to the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, I have been reflecting on the last five years. So much has changed and so much has been achieved by UCL.
‘The Power of Innovation’ UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture: Nick Jankel - Chief Executive, wecreate
31 January 2012
Nick Jankel told us in one hour “what being a capitalist and an entrepreneur means”. After studying Medicine at Cambridge University, he read History of Science at UCL.
At the time, Nick disliked business: the idea of entrepreneurship was not one he took in consideration, all he wanted was to continue his medical training. Besides teaching entrepreneurship, Nick has now been an entrepreneur for thirteen years. Fifteen years ago, he quit his course, withdrew his application from Harvard Medical School and started a business with a partner.
What does Entrepreneurship mean to Nick Jankel?
Nick Jankel works in the advertising industry. It is “the heart of the enterprise experience”, to which he brings his innovative contribution. At the beginning, Nick started off by relying on the use of psychology and philosophy to promote and advertise products in business.
The internet brought about “the sharing of knowledge with blinding speed”: the web exploded, the world was changing. “In business you exist in a context”: as an innovation consultant, Nick had to follow the change. Before he was even 30 years old, Nick had worked with big companies and governments, telling them, as he says, “where failure was and how to avoid it”. Entrepreneurship for Nick has to be agile. It needs to be flexible, able to pivot and turn, each player aware of the others, as if the game played were one of chess. In order to play, coaching is essential, a mentor is an indispensable guide.
Enterprise 2.0 is Nick’s latest innovation. It is a business which aims to find solutions to world problems: poverty, climate change, conflict, depression, suicide. Its purpose is beyond profit. It is an ‘intentional enterprise’, which engine is the recalibration of capitalism, moving towards social justice. “The ingenuity and innovation of free enterprise and the collective spirit of socialism” coexist in Nick’s business. On a personal level, “it’s about being part of a solution”: resilience, optimism, responsibility, appetite for vision and uncertainty are the keys to success in Nick’s field. The advice UCL is left with are memorable. To be an entrepreneur, live your life as one long series of questions. Teaching Open Innovation made Nick understand the importance of sharing risks and rewards, “behaving innovatively” with customers and competitors. “Be a ninja in finding the win win win”, for you, for your collaborators, for society; finally, “see everyday as a trade off day”. Change the world by changing yourself.
Written by Carolina Mostert, UCL 2nd year student studying Classics