Scientists Ought to Take an Entrepreneurial Attitude toward Broader Impacts

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.

This is the definition of entrepreneurship the article linked below discusses as the best ever. I agree that it’s excellent as definitions go.

Let me suggest that adopting an entrepreneurial attitude toward NSF’s Broader Impacts Criterion would be advisable for scientists.

At present, I think many scientists have a reactive attitude toward Broader Impacts. Let’s define a reactive attitude as essentially the opposite of an entrepreneurial attitude: A reactive attitude would be the avoidance of opportunity because of a lack of resources currently controlled.

The resource that scientists lack is expertise in Broader Impacts. As a result, they continue to wait for NSF or politicians to tell them what to think about Broader Impacts. Scientists thereby avoid the opportunity to take ownership of Broader Impacts.

This is a serious mistake. Scientists recently got a reprieve from NSB with the removal of the list of “national goals” from the proposed Broader Impacts Criterion. This allows scientists the opportunity to exercise their scientific autonomy to make Broader Impacts their own.

The question for scientists is whether they will continue to avoid this opportunity because they don’t have the expertise to take advantage of it, or whether they will seize the opportunity and acquire what they need as they go. Will scientists continue to embrace a reactive attitude, or will they take an entrepreneurial attitude toward Broader Impacts? The opportunity is there for the taking!

The entrepreneur recognizes one salient fact:

Opportunity is the only real resource you have.

Opportunity may also be the only real resource you need.

What’s an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever | LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Accountability, Broader Impacts, NSF, Peer Review, STEM Policy, US Science Agencies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Scientists Ought to Take an Entrepreneurial Attitude toward Broader Impacts

  1. Keith Brown says:

    The definition from HBS is a good example of how a word starts off as descriptive of a type (those who take risks), becomes broadly utilized until it does not mean much (as evidenced by the examples of those who seem too milktoast to be called risk takers), and then is refocused by novel explication. Scientists should be at ease with such a notion as it is a scientized definition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>