Open Organization : Another kind of Startup Incubator ?

Have you ever heard about “Open Organization” or “Flat Organization”? Did you ever work in an organization that let you decide your own path, your own job, your own plan for the next 6 months? Sounds a bit unorthodox, right? Some people describe Open Organization as “crazy” and “messy”, lots of people even doubt it and laugh at it the idea of it. We did struggle at first — when we switched from a Top-down organization to an Open organization, but hey, we are still growing strong at this very moment. There are millions of reasons for us to keep our organization open. However, here is the big one: we believe this kind of organization is the best one to develop talents, especially potential entrepreneurs.

My own story: How I got my entrepreneurial spirit without realising it.

I started my career at Officience (Offy) as a business analyst, I planned to be an business analyst expert 2 years ago. At Offy, we have no manager, we have no one to tell us what to do — but we do have people whom we trust, whom we choose as “Influencers”. These Influencers have the great responsibility to help you develop yourself by advising, by challenging your self-development plans. My Influencers are the 2 founders of Offy, and I didn’t choose them because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I chose them just because I admired their mindsets and attitude towards work & life.

As a part of my self-developing plan, I started to read business books, most of them were suggested by the 2 founders. Slowly, I’ve become more and more curious about the business world, I’ve started to relate what I’ve learned from those books to what is happening in Vietnam — my country. Later on, the feeling of hunger rushes through me, I an eager to add value to the development of Vietnam. And it keeps growing stronger and stronger every time my Influencers put their trust in me, they encourage me to step up and act on it.

“Become an entrepreneur is a journey, it’s not gonna happen in one night.”

And now here I am, along with my partners, in our hands a business plan, of a co-working space project which also is our child, doing all our best to make it a reality. The moment when you realise you are down to protect your product, your ideas, your vision and willing to take risks, to handle those up and down, painful situations: fighting with your partners, being challenged by investors, being rejected even before they spend time listening to your core ideas, to understand your business philosophy etc… and yet, none of it is going to stop you. Yes! That is the moment you realize you are experiencing that kind of “foolish and hunger” spirit. Clear as crystal, you feel the entrepreneurial seed has already been planted inside your head.

Here at Officience, we believe everybody can be entrepreneur…

As long as they want to and they have a chance to work with other entrepreneurs and live among people who has a “yes, I can” mindset. Being an entrepreneur is a choice, is a passion. Even Thomas Edison said [about] “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. So the entrepreneurial gene may only need 1 percent to sharpen your entrepreneurial mindset. 99 percent left is the ability of opportunities recognition. Once they look at the world through a slightly different lens, they start to see what may have potential. And they will likely start to act on them.

People have different skill sets and natural talents, but most outstanding ones are those who work hard and train hard. And people can’t have characteristics that make entrepreneurship easier, but there’s a combination; learning skills is an extremely important part of the process and learning those skills in a suitable environment is going to speed up the process.

( Image source : blogs.itpeoplecorp.com )

This “suitable environment” is a place to encourage people to explore their elements, to experience, to learn, to do, to think out of the box, it doesn’t mean people have to become an entrepreneur when they work in this kind of environment, they have a chance to become what they really want to be. Here, no one is supposed to tell others “no”, people have the right to make their own decision with full support and sincere advice from the others. Here, people have a chance to experience 100 percent of being trusted and get encouraged to have a mindset “Yes, I can”, to be allowed to fail as long as they don’t mind to try and try again.

And the Open organization model has exactly this kind of “suitable environment” that people look for. Once the seed has been planted, it’d find a way to survive and grow strong. Once the entrepreneurial spirit has been awaken, it’d become unstoppable. That’s why I think Open organization is another perfect kind of startup incubator.