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Gene pool engineering for entrepreneurs: Step #3: For each risk, locate the centers of excellence (8/11)

The third step of gene pool engineering involves identifying the organizations across academia, the corporate world, and any other top institutions that make use of the relevant skill sets for a particular risk. The best skill set does not have to be readily obvious in that center’s field, though. If an electronics startup is looking for a materials scientist, a center of excellence might be a world-renown company that supplies the automotive industry with casings. This could be the case because maybe scientists in this company work with the widest range of materials necessary for our venture and because they pick up design and manufacturing skills from that particular corporate environment. This list should include the traditional targets of direct competitors, bleeding edge public and private R&D labs, and divisions within large multinational corporations. The team should also identify adjacent sectors that may have seemingly little overlap at the end-product level, but share similar discipline in the product development process. Find out who in each company worked on the project and made contributions or gained a lot of experience on what not to do or how to solve the problem. That means tracking down details of the relevant project or technology within each of these companies. What was done? By whom? Names below are disguised:

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Headhunting to Key Risks

In our ePowersoft example, we have identified experts in the traditional recruiting targets including direct competitors like Cree and firms with application expertise like Raytheon. We also chose to approach experts in non-obvious, adjacent industries like solar. First Solar’s design rigor, focus on cost-effective manufacturing, and history of meeting deliverables are directly applicable to electronic devices. This led us to add several high priority candidates from First Solar to the gene pool. Ultimately, the resulting heterogeneity of thought from an engineering team with diverse backgrounds encourages the exchange of ideas and evolution of new cross-bred ideas. Mixing of genes is a powerful technique. The technique draws its power from the optimization of diversity, though, which is why the diversity we look for (age, industry experience, problem-solving portfolio, and creativity) are critical. It is not that we hire for any generic kind of diversity. Rather, we purposefully hire for specialized diversity.

 

Gene Pool Diversity

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Look Outside the Company/Sector

 

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