When you step into an airplane and hear the captain saying that we will be expecting tailwinds, two immediate thoughts jump to your mind; you understand that it will be bumpy, your heart immediately reacts with a kick, and you also know that probably you will arrive faster then expected to your destination.
When I arrived in Barcelona last Sunday I had the pleasure to mingle with other teachers coming to EADA (www.eada.edu) for the international weeks, and it become clear to me that the tailwind idea/concept could easily be applied to the current moments we are living in Europe.
It was also interesting to notice that mainly my European colleagues (myself included) were talking about the crisis; the South Americans and the Australians were in a totally different mindset…they actually seemed much happier.
The challenge for the week was actually…two. During the mornings I would have the chance to mentor a group of 30 bright Master students from different countries and in the evening a group with more or less the same size but formed by executive students with plenty of years of working experience, the language requested to be used in the morning would be English and in the evening would be castellan, a true challenge for my skills in the Cervantes language.
The core idea for both groups was quite similar, using a mix of Business Model Canvas, Customer development and Lean Startup, observed trough the lens of my professional and personal life experience.
The objective; evangelise more and more entrepreneurs to become faster and smarter at making decisions, spending less money and decreasing the chances to fail when starting their future new companies.
After few days it was obvious for me that there was a pattern among my students when they were sharing opinions in class. The majority of trends and dynamics most appreciated were originated in emergent markets economies while the majority of problems identified were spotted in good old Europe…. without making too much noise, it is clear for me…we have a new order in the World.
The week went fast, too fast, the level of commitment, the ideas, the risks taken and most of all the hungry minds, reinsure me that when you really believe in something, the tailwind is never a treat but always an opportunity to arrive faster at your destination.
A final note that might sound almost political…no worries, it is indeed political 🙂
Every time (like this week) I have in front of me 20 plus nationalities working together, learning how to fail together in order to end up building together something really strong, I always become very suspicious about what certain politicians and media wants me to be believe.
Seeing Italians, Portuguese, Belgians and Spanish students working together with Germans, Dutch, Swiss, French and Luxembourgers colleague’s makes me believe that the future of Europe lies on real people and less on traditional politicians.
On another page, my students from Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Turkey and Brazil are already living taking full advantage of the Tailwind in our economies.
Despite all political views one might have, “normal” people with a good balance of technical expertise and real life experience are better at making decisions, and this is something that either politicians understand and act upon…or day by day the “wisdom” of the populist digital crowds will take over with unpredictable results.
While hundreds of Crowdsourcing platforms are gathering more and more committed followers engaged in solving issues from world hunger (http://www.kiva.org), global warming (http://www.avaaz.org) or financing the next local store down the street (http://www.kickstarter.com), truth is…problems are being solved…and the political system seems to lack the capacity to follow what is happening.
On the other side, the examples I saw from my students, were very objective, they saw problems and needs, they designed and validate solutions to fulfil those problems, and in the end walk out of the building to build their new business (some of them…soon to be seen on the market).
In a word…inspiring!
It was time to go back home to enjoy the family and the first days of spring…. and guess what, our plane arrived 20m ahead of the schedule, tailwind rocks!