Danny Mekić is a management consultant in the area of technology, media, communication, entrepreneurship and innovation. He gives lectures, teaches classes and often appears on radio and television. Furthermore, he is part of the shadow cabinet of the Dutch entrepreneurs’ organisation ONL voor Ondernemers as its Minister of Technology. What does he consider the greatest developments that entrepreneurs should be aware of in 2014?
‘Primarily, that would be our increasing dependence on technology. If you would want to take in all the information you get through your phone in its most raw form, you’d have to page through half a library a day. Fifteen years ago, people would connect to the internet for a few minutes a day; nowadays, we’re connected 24/7. That’s why if you’re an entrepreneur who runs a store or showroom, you’ll have to offer something that can’t be found on a smartphone or laptop. A lot of entrepreneurs think they wouldn’t understand online presence, or they couldn’t do it, or it’s too costly. But if you don’t ask yourself now what your company will look like in that new world, and what place you plan to occupy in it two years from now, then sooner or later you will no longer have a raison d’être.
Another development entrepreneurs will not be able to ignore is the need for innovation. In a rapidly changing world, ‘the way you’ve always done it’ is no longer good enough. You need to try to be one step ahead of the development you’re faced with. That takes creativity. One approach to innovation is to look at something that seems very normal in a different way. Designer, philosopher and artist Daan Roosegaarde, for example, is co-initiator of the ‘highway of tomorrow’, using glow-in-the-dark markings, dynamic paint, interactive lights and an electric priority lane. ‘Why not collect energy in a natural way?’, he thought one day. He also has his own, much-discussed approach to the smog problem. He came up with a kind of vacuum cleaner that draws smog particles down towards the ground.
There’s a few things that are important to entrepreneurs who want to innovate. Firstly: invest in innovation in a time when your company is doing well. There may seem less of a need to at that moment, but if you put it off until things go badly, you won’t have the funds for it and it’ll be too late. It would also be wise to work together with other people without interfering with each other’s market or product. See what you can do to fortify each other and to shape the market, rather than taking a back seat and responding to things as they happen. Visibility really is the big keyword there: go out, be relevant and display your knowledge. People and companies that are capable of changing quickly have and will continue to have an important role in the economy.’
Interview by Debby Verwoolde