Creative entrepreneurship
September 11th, 2009
By Tiina Kristoffersson (Stilton Finland)

We decided from the start that we would write our blog in Swedish on all other days apart from the Finnish Independence Day, 6th December, when Emma and Jenny allow me to write in Finnish. We have received positive feedback on our business blog, although a few of our clients have expressed the wish to see the texts also in English (I reserve the right to return to using Swedish and each year on 6 December, to my own mother tongue of Finnish).

Besides international, the work of an agent is independent. Most independent literary agents work as sole traders, and our business activities are based on the literary output of our authors, as well as our personal networks. None of my previous jobs involved as much networking and independence as my current agent’s job does. I believe that this is one of the key reasons why I love this job as much as I do.

In fact, I am convinced that the traditional business model hinders creativity for this very reason: “entrepreneurship” within organisations is restricted and frowned upon, and work is based on organisational models that are hierarchical and highly inflexible. Work takes place in offices, where humble, obedient employees each morning trundle by car in seemingly never-ending queues, only to do it all in reverse at the end of each day in order to return home.

I understand that it was necessary for the early capitalists to place the people in the factories at the start of the Industrial Age. Business activities were centred around machines and employees were needed to maintain those machines. Large machinery could not be dragged home, and the employees therefore had to drag themselves to their place of work. What I cannot understand is why this kind of organisational model still continues to dominate in business world. Majority of us could work principally from home, if we so wished.

In creative networks, each person participates according to their own interests and resources. There is no higher hierarchy than this: everyone is responsible for their own actions and reputation to the network's other members, all of whom are of equal importance. Reputation is one of the most efficient motivators for the high quality output.

It is hard to imagine a more blaring contrast to the traditional business structure, in which responsibility at the end of the day always rests with the management, and employees merely implement the nuggets of wisdom, also known as business strategy, handed down by some higher authority.

In this promised era of happiness coaches and life management gurus, my personal happiness is based on waking up in the morning close to my loved ones, not having to queue on the motorway like thousands of others trying to reach their offices (been there, done that!), being able to work in my bathrobe if I want to, and knowing that Emma and Jenny are close by--thanks to Internet--if I need them.

Speaking of networks, I've asked some of Stilton's authors to participate in this blog with their own tone of voice. Stay tuned. Until then, three cheers to entrepreneurship and the equality within peer networks!
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