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Keyword - Entredonneur

This invented word takes the literal meaning of 'entrepreneur' and reverses it to create an ethical balance

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The Word 'Entrepreneur'

  1. Richard Cantillon created the term 'entrepreneur' around 1730.
  2. He saw entrepreneurship as a risk-taking activity.
  3. The economist Jean-Baptiste Say later characterised it more in terms of planning.
  4. For Say, it was "one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediatory between capital and labour".
  5. Metadesigners tend to focus more on creativities beyond the traditional genre of invention.

Normalising the Habit of 'Taking'

  1. In the late 20th century, Mrs Thatcher characterise enterprise as the ability to generate wealth (see Wikipedia entry).
  2. For many, therefore, entrepreneurship is associated with a forceful, exploitative, or even predatory idea of business acumen.
  3. Despite the recent idea of social enterprise we still tend to focus on the financial, rather than the creative aspects of risk and innovation.

square-50cm-spacer.jpg Acumen

What 'Entrepreneur' Means - Literally

  1. The term is made from 2 old French words that meant (literally) 'taking from between'.
  2. It implies the combination of several (existing) things.
  3. This is a very synergistic idea, potentially.

Reclaiming 'Give and Take'

square-50cm-spacer.jpg Give And Take

  1. In reality, it is hard to embark on any enterprise that is EITHER exclusively selfish, OR exclusively altruistic.
  2. By introducing this word (in 1990) I hoped it would encourage a more realistic model of creative transaction.

Making Enterprise Manifold

  1. The singular model implied by the term (from the French) 'taking from between' is not so useful, as it appears to be predicated on creating ONE innovation (see manifold abundance
  2. We can re-invent invention to make it do more good for more recipients.

square-50cm-spacer.jpg Creative Quartets Diagram

The Entredonneur

  • My term 'entredonneur' (Wood, 1990) was not intended as a clear criticism of 'enterprise' itself.
  • Nevertheless, offers an invaluable practical counterpoint to it, as it replaces 'taking' with 'giving'.
  • The most extreme idea of 'taking' is as unlikely as an extreme idea of pure 'giving'
  • However, by placing the two at opposite ends of a continuum we are better able to map the transition from one to the other
  • It may help us to identify how business, and other modes of enterprise, might be re-envisioned
  • It implies a less wasteful mode of living within an (inevitable) solar economy
  • In theory, at the macro level, tendencies to 'pure greed' may balance the will to 'pure altruism'
  • With better mapping techniques we might be able to replace this struggle with a reciprocal form of altruism.
Wood, J., (1990), "COMMENT: The Socially Responsible Designer", Design Magazine, July 1990

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