Building up your career as a startup founder and an entrepreneur can be challenging, especially if you’ve just got yourself started and don’t know the steps you should take or the person you should approach for advice. To talk about these matters we met with James Kyd, an expert on disruptive innovation, who shared with us some insights.

James Kyd is a leading strategic thinker and an innovation adviser to public and private organisations. With over 15 years consulting experience, James is passionate about the emerging trends and future of technology, and has worked with several teams pioneering innovations in business processes.

On top of that, James has recently been appointed a Director of the Founder Institute in Melbourne, a startup launch program for talented entrepreneurs.

We were lucky enough to have a good chat with James about the future of technology and humanity, and the Australian startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship.

Here are four of the most important insights and takeaways we’ve gathered from James.

About making an impact

When asked about his early years, about how he built up his career to end up doing exactly what he wanted to do, James conveys the importance he gives to having an impact. As he puts it, “I’ve always been curious, for me it is important to have an impact, to feel that your existence means something.” That’s one of the reasons why he decided to leave the corporate world behind and become a consultant and mentor for young companies that are just starting and want to focus on innovation. As James says

“Startup organisations are doing far more innovative things in a shorter space of time, with far less resources. Impact potential on that side seems much greater to me”

 About believing in what you do

According to James, one thing that makes a difference in an entrepreneur’s ability to get through the early stage of building a startup, to succeed and to make an impact, is belief.

“It’s something I’ve noticed when talking to people in startups. Those who succeed are not necessarily the ones who are better financed or have better ideas. They just have a fundamental and unwavering belief in what they do and why it will work .”

About the Founder Institute

As the new director of the Founder Institute in Melbourne, James introduces us to the purpose of such an organisation for young entrepreneurs .

“Founder Institute is a Silicon Valley based incubator and early stage accelerator helping talented entrepreneurs succeed in tech innovation. Our main focus and selection is based around the talents of the potential entrepreneur rather than on their business ideas”.

The Accelerator program is build around the following core aspects as explained by James:

  • Talent: “We do multiple aptitude tests and accept people who we think have an entrepreneurial flair and mindset. If you’ve got that, then it really doesn’t matter what your idea is.”
  • Training: “Then, we bring in the right curriculum and go through a 14 week program. From ideation to incorporation of a business, putting a plan in place…”
  • Mentoring program: “We also bring in mentors who have gone through the journey of creating and building their own businesses and have been successful in the past.”

On the other hand the Founder Institute also promotes peer collaboration to learn leadership and team building skills.

About sharing ideas

When coming up with a brilliant idea for business, some people tend to be protective and prefer not to share it with anyone else, in fear of someone stealing it. Yet, this is right the opposite way in which the Founder Institute approaches the issue when it says peer collaboration plays a fundamental role in the organisation. James believes it’s better to share your idea with as many people as possible. As he sees it

“There is a part of your personality, belief and passion you bring with your idea, which means that even if someone tried to steal your idea, their execution would be completely different to yours. If your idea is easily stolen, then it is the wrong idea. Because the reality is as soon as you launch your business, someone will try to replicate it.”

James is one of those rare people in the startup community who is always happy to help. He invests a lot of his personal time guiding, mentoring and helping people who want to become entrepreneurs, and by doing that he creates a real impact and makes the difference.


Thanks again for your time, James!

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