Babson Entrepreneur Experience Lab

Elements of the Entrepreneur Experience


In our work to put the voice and experience of Entrepreneurs of All Kinds at the center of an ongoing effort to design new education and support models, we noticed a group of entrepreneurial leaders whose work seemed to set them apart from their peers. From the outset, we were up against an interesting research challenge. This group defies easy definition. With no real language to describe them, how would we know if someone was or was not qualitatively unique?

Using observations from our previous work with new venture creators and entrepreneurs inside organizations as a guide, we developed a short list of criteria to help us frame the type of person we were seeking: hybrid thinkers who straddle the boundaries of social and economic impact as they work toward scalable, sustainable, systemic solutions to the world’s most pressing issues, people who struggle to secure mentorship and investment because they don’t fit into pre-defined entrepreneurial categories, and people who need new types of relationships to succeed.

Nearly a dozen conversations later and days of analysis and interpretation, we arrived at a conclusion: a new category is needed for this group, who in their work, and in the organizations they build explore powerful new ways to create value. They challenge the separation of profit and purpose; contradict current conversation about models and scale; disrupt our ideas of a market; and call into question exactly who gets to innovate.

Meet the Masterclass

Creating new economies, democratizing web technology, turning the expert model on its head, and more, the Masterclass are realizing significant and biding outcomes and generating socioeconomic value for the communities, markets and organizations they serve. Their approach advocates for redefinition of the challenges facing entrepreneurs: inclusion, participation, the long view, managing the emergent, and measuring human capacity, to name a few. While their stories and experiences are pivotal to inspiring a new narrative around what entrepreneurship is and can be, ultimately, they are lighting the path to approaches that solve intractable, consequential problems in the world.

In this special issue, we report on methodologies and three paradigm-shifting modes that the Masterclass leverage to change the world. We’re just beginning to explore the work of the Masterclass, but already know the findings hold great value for entrepreneurs and leaders alike. As we continue to decode this important work so that others can follow where the Masterclass lead, we’d love to hear from you. How might this work help you in your entrepreneurial endeavors?