Innovate or die: how family businesses can maintain their entrepreneurial spirit
Within the family business industry, the mantra of ‘innovate or die’ is well-known. Many times we’ve heard the anecdote that the first generation creates the business, the second generation develops it and the third reduces it to dust. We explore this simplification and discuss how a family business can safeguard its entrepreneurial spirit.
Next Generation Published on Simple May 5, 2021

Many times we’ve heard the anecdote that the first generation creates the business, the second generation develops it and the third reduces it to dust. Within this paradigm, it’s suggested that the third generation is responsible for the decay of the business and holds the reputational capital of the entrepreneurial family. But is this really the whole picture? Perhaps it’s more reasonable to suggest that the first two generations are co-responsible for the failure of the third generation. And that these failures could be avoided if the first and second generations better understood what made them successful and intervene in ensuring this intergenerational legacy continues.

In the beginning, there was an innovation

Family businesses are often born out of a committed entrepreneur who is passionate about an idea that he or she has decided to make a reality. The successful execution of this idea is called a distinctive entrepreneurial orientation: the ability to ‘envision’ a project, a market, a business differently from others, at the right time, in the right territories, with the right people.

About the Authors

Julien Lescs

Julien Lescs

Pyschodynamics & Impact Investing

Julien is co-founder of Kimpa, a family office dedicated to impact investing. Grandson of an agricultural family business that was destroyed in a fratricidal war, Julien has become a specialist in psychodynamics related to family business governance.

Connect with Julien Lescs

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