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By now you’ve almost certainly heard of artificial intelligence. But what about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)? It’s essentially a concept that machines will continue to learn and eventually be able to perform intellectual tasks, such as problem solving, much like we humans do.

If this sounds exciting, you’re not the only one who is looking forward to the possibilities that will deveop thanks to AI. HyperCycle is a company that’s pushing to bring the world closer toward AGI by empowering AI machines to transact with one another which results in competition and collaboration. It produces connective nodes that are key to this process, and behind that production is a CEO named Toufi Saliba.

To learn more about HyperCycle’s technology and the future of AI, download this whitepaper: HyperCycle: A Lightweight Agent-System-Based Ledgerless Blockchain Architecture, Supporting Secure, Efficient, Scalable, Cross-Chain AI Microservices.

Toufi’s philosophies and how they tie together.

He has a broad view of what the future of artificial intelligence holds, what will be the most influential in that growth, and how it leads to AGI.

Toufi’s diverse background includes a long history of research and work in tech. Although he’s a computer science drop-out, he managed to run dozens of successful research which resulted in several algorithms and protocols used widely. He then went on to become a great example of a serial entrepreneur.

Toufis’ career covered a wide range of micro-industries within tech, some of which include machine learning, decentralized governance, distributed computing, and cryptography. Credited as the author and co-author of a range of algorithms, protocols, and patents, he’s also the author of TODA/IP, Global Chair International Protocols for AI Security IEEE, and most recently accepted the role of being the CEO of HyperCycle.AI.

Future players in the space.

In addition to pioneering a connective node technology that could help get us to AGI one day, Toufi meditates on the future with a theory that Paraguay will become an instrumental enabler of the internet of artificial intelligence. He elaborates, “Paraguay has the will to convert some of the clean energy from its hydroelectric towards AI computation, and therefore could become a major hub.” He goes on to say that exporting AI computation could add tremendous value to the world while substantially lifting up for the country’s economy.

As fascinating as Toufi’s theories on Paraguay may be, they are just a glimpse of the wide range of conversation, philosophizing, and anticipating one can do when digging into the potential of this growing technology.

Digging deeper.

To learn more about Toufi’s philosophies and how HyperCycle is working to create a lightweight, system-based ledgerless blockchain architecture that supports scalable AI microservices — and how that could help propel an AI framework that will get us closer to AGI — download this whitepaper today.

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In the next episode of our Leadership Lessons series, host Jason Nazar chats with a fellow lifelong entrepreneur with experience building companies and leading high-performing teams. Over the past two decades Brent Handler has been a pioneer, transforming the way people take vacations.

In 2002, Handler co-founded Exclusive Resorts and served as its President until 2009, where he set the standard for the burgeoning destination club industry by delivering tens of thousands of vacations to members worldwide and amassing more than $1 billion in real estate assets. In 2010 – convinced he could improve on the model he helped establish – he co-founded Inspirato (NASDAQ: INSPO), the world’s first luxury travel subscription brand. Providing sophisticated travelers access to a curated collection of exceptional luxury vacation homes, five-star hotel and resort partners, and custom travel experiences, members get personalized service but without the six-figure, upfront fees previously common in the industry.

In addition to sharing the greatest lessons from his 20+ year career, other topics include:

  • How to build your business around something you care about.
  • Recruiting the right leadership team.
  • Hungry people fight over food.
  • Diversifying proven channels that rely on core strengths.
  • Finding a massive market & attacking it in a defensible way through innovation.
  • Delighting customers.

Don’t miss out—register now!

Register Now

About The Speakers:

Brent Handler is Co-Founder of Inspirato and has served as its CEO and a member of its Board of Directors since January 2010. Under his leadership, Inspirato established itself as a leading luxury hospitality company that provides access to a managed and controlled portfolio of luxury vacation homes and other vacation options, leveraging an innovative subscription model to ensure the service and certainty that affluent customers demand. In 2019, Handler led the development and launch of Inspirato Pass, the world’s first luxury travel subscription that includes all nightly rates, taxes, and fees. Before co-founding Inspirato, he co-founded Exclusive Resorts and served as its President from 2002 to 2009, where it set the standard for the destination club industry. Mr. Handler holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Colorado.

Jason Nazar is a serial tech entrepreneur, advisor, and investor with two successful exits. He was most recently co-founder/CEO of workplace culture review platform Comparably (acquired by ZoomInfo), and previously co-founder/CEO of Docstoc (acquired by Intuit). Jason was named LA Times’ Top 5 CEOs of Midsize Companies (2020), LA Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs (2016), and appointed inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence for the city of Los Angeles (2016-2018). He holds a B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara and his JD and MBA from Pepperdine University. He currently teaches Entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at UCLA.

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Elaine Weir is retired, which means that — apart from the swimming lessons she teaches a few times a week — she has a lot of time on her hands. So in the summer of 2019, when she saw a Facebook ad for the geothermal energy company Dandelion, she called them up to investigate. “I had no intentions of buying this thing,” she says, with a conspiratorial cackle. “But my daughter suffers from asthma, so I wanted to do my small part to reduce our footprint. We were considering an electric car, but then I saw this…”

She agreed to let a salesman come to her home, a 100-year-old Tudor in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale. “He explained this and that,” she says. “But when he said I could get rid of the air conditioning, that’s when my ears perked up.” Like many homes, her HVAC system required a giant, noisy set of outdoor AC condenser units. “I said, ‘You mean these don’t have to be here?’ They’re right next to my screened-in porch, and I can hear them in the middle of the night, and they’re just plain annoying.”

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Today’s workforce is more diverse in age, gender, experience and culture than ever before. Employees range from recent college grads to older individuals with decades of experience. The 200% increase in remote opportunities following the pandemic has turned “the office” into a global network of multinational but connected workers. In 2023, business leaders are tasked with uniting vastly different and often far-flung individuals under specific, shared goals — an essential component of success for any company hoping to reach its full potential.

Having been a business leader for over 30 years, I understand that managing this dynamic new workforce comes with many challenges. That said, under the right leadership, the vast opportunities of a diverse workforce far outweigh the challenges.

In my experience, driving innovation through diversity boils down to 3 key initiatives:

1. Respect the relative workstyles of each generation as much as possible

Businesses have always been comprised of people of all ages, but given the increasingly rapid technological and cultural shifts of the last few decades, generational differences are arguably more significant than ever. Understanding the varying needs and preferences of various age groups is critical for managing all employees; for instance, younger generations tend to be more connected and engaged when working in groups via high-tech tools, whereas older generations may prefer to work more collaboratively in person and with simpler or more traditional devices. While leaders are looking to hire employees with the adaptive mindsets and complex skillsets of the future, this does not negate the need for the deep experiential knowledge of industry veterans.

However, change can be difficult — especially when a long-standing “status quo” is being disrupted by new voices and procedures. Just as younger employees should be diligently onboarded onto existing teams and systems, older employees should be shown the same patience and understanding when learning new processes — and whenever possible, employees should be given the grace to work in whatever way is most productive for them.

It is no longer about a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to work environment; to drive the best results with cohesion and minimal resistance, leaders must recognize and accommodate generational differences to create a team capable of achieving common objectives while staying true to individual work styles and expertise.

Related: True Innovation Starts With Diversity

2. Cultivate a culture that thrives on differences of perspectives.

The philosophy of true leadership is as simple as human anatomy — we all have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth; managers should listen and observe more than they speak, ensuring that all voices are heard. The objective is to identify key similarities and to take advantage of the differences to arrive at the most innovative solutions.

When managing a diverse workforce, leaders must foster an inclusive company culture that respects individuals for who they are, where they come from, and what they bring to the table. In fact, not only do employees thrive in such inclusive environments, they actually prefer them — 3 out of 4 job-seekers prefer diverse companies and coworkers.

While it’s easy to preach inclusivity in a company’s core values, this mission isn’t authentic until leaders lead by example. Leaders should assess people skills with the same importance as technical skills, seeking out those with an innate desire to learn from and respect others for their differences.

Frequent, open and honest communication is the vehicle for all meaningful change. Leaders should never underestimate the power of employee feedback, which is why they must create spaces where everyone is often encouraged to speak candidly from their perspective. These spaces may take many forms — from company-wide meetings to social events to anonymous surveys — but this constant stream of input and ideas is the lifeblood of any organization.

When employees feel valued and understood, they are more likely to be more open-minded and to think creatively, knowing that their perspectives aren’t just welcome but wanted. Leaders must remember that everyone is capable of asking a question that no one else has necessarily considered, and it is by attempting to answer these questions that true innovation happens.

Related: 3 Ways to Build a Diverse Team of Lifelong Employees

3. Let representation in the workforce diversify your consumers

Not only do diverse companies enjoy 2.5x higher cash flow per employee, but companies with a diverse workforce have a broader and deeper understanding of a wide variety of consumers. To truly understand the needs and preferences of target consumers, companies must employ people who identify with those specific demographics. Without this representation within the workforce, it becomes all too easy for companies to lose touch with their intended audiences, which creates a fatal disconnect when consumer trends shift with the fast-paces of the market.

Of course, this strategy also works in reverse — the more heterogeneous a company becomes, the more idiosyncrasies can be considered. Therefore, when a workforce includes people from many backgrounds, its consumer audience can grow accordingly.

Differences between employees should not be overlooked or undervalued, as the varying perspectives of unique individuals provide a fuller picture of how the industry serves various consumer identities. This growth strategy is especially effective when companies diversify at every level; in fact, multinational diversity in management has been shown to increase annual revenue by 19%, and gender-diverse executive teams consistently outperform their homogeneous competitors.

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The startup world is known for creativity and innovation around the world. Brave entrepreneurs may give up corporate security and branch out to pursue their dreams. While this can be scary, it’s also how the most innovative ideas in the world develop into products or services.

As an experienced entrepreneur and venture capital (VC) investor, I encourage startup founders to pursue their passion without hesitation. They can improve the world and enhance the lives of customers and employees.

The importance of innovation in business and technology

The business and technology worlds are competitive, so it’s important that companies — including startups and corporations — strive for innovation to stand out. Creativity, part of a startup founder’s DNA, is important but not sufficient. The term innovation refers to ideas that are creative but valuable to potential customers. Business problems continually evolve, and so must their solutions. Innovation is the key to making that happen.

It’s not just my opinion. The Brookings Institution reports that innovation raises wages and drives economic growth, improves life expectancy in the U.S. and makes technology affordable.

Ongoing innovation is typically pursued by corporations in an effort to stay ahead. Companies might form an innovation team, often connected to their research and development efforts. Even with the best intentions, forcing innovation is hard, leaving some companies stuck with the status quo. I recommend that corporations consider investing in startups as a way to get access to some of the best ideas in the world.

Disruptive innovation is often the foundation of startup success. This type of innovation allows startups to carve out a portion of existing markets, or it might create an entirely new market. Examples from our portfolio include Airbnb, which changed the lodging industry by making everyday people guest hosts. DoorDash introduced a new customer-friendly delivery model. 23andMe offers personalized genetic insights to consumers from the comfort of home.

Related: How Business Leaders Can Foster an Innovative Work Culture

Businesses must evolve to survive

Innovation is important because it allows businesses to differentiate themselves. They find ways to solve both old problems and emerging problems. Memorable examples of companies that did not evolve successfully include Blockbuster, a thriving rental business that failed to see the market evolution to streaming services. Kodak was wildly successful in film but did not transition effectively to digital photography. MySpace was an early leader in social media, but Facebook emerged with a more appealing offering.

Related: Don’t Make the Same Mistake Leaders at Kodak, Blockbuster and Xerox Made When Disruption Comes to Your Industry

How startup competitions spur innovation

Although startup founders may be inherently creative, I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact of startup competitions to spur innovation. Such competitions motivate startups to fine-tune their pitch and their value proposition.

One type of competition takes place in MBA programs, which allow entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas while still in school. The founders benefit from collaboration with professors and fellow students, as well as from judges’ advice – often including VCs – in these competitions. Many MBA students finish school and start working at their startups full-time.

Related: Here’s Why Innovation is the Key to Success of Any Business

Shark Tank is a high-profile example of a televised startup competition that receives many more applications than it can support. Founders who make the cut pitch to some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. They answer challenging questions, and even if an investment doesn’t work out, the startups get high-profile exposure that is hard to beat.

Other competition examples include Web Summit PITCH, taking place at one of the top technology conferences worldwide. Web Summit is hosted each year in Lisbon and attracts 50K+ attendees. Early-stage founders battle it out on stage with a global audience. The Startup World Cup, organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, attracts entrepreneurs, corporations and investors in a series of 70+ regional competitions around the globe. The grand finale winner receives a US$1 million investment prize.

Improving the world, one startup at a time

Ultimately, innovation and the improving world inspire me to lead a VC firm. Startups can give people better access to technology, allowing them to become better educated even if they live somewhere remote or can’t afford tuition. Healthcare innovation allows medical professionals to diagnose and treat diseases affordably and without unnecessary travel.

Startups in the sharing economy let people improve their lives by renting out extra space or selling their skills and goods online. I find it amazing to see the innovation that startups already offer and to think about what amazing ideas have yet to materialize.

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During the global oil crisis of the 1970s, a little-known scientist named M. Stanley Whittingham first developed the concept of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Over the next 50 years, others improved on his idea, and now, the lithium-ion battery is essential for everyday life.

But the creativity necessary for innovation doesn’t happen by accident. Leaders need to be intentional about encouraging their teams to examine critical issues and explore their creative sides. This is how we develop the life-changing technologies that propel humanity forward.

Why innovate?

The greatest innovations are often bred out of necessity. Humans are natural problem solvers. It’s in our DNA, and I would even argue it’s our plight as a species. Our ability to devise solutions and create new technologies has allowed us to make astounding advancements that improve the quality of life for billions of people.

How do these life-changing technologies come about? We first need to understand the problems we face — but too often, we put ourselves and others in a state of fear.

Managers and leaders who wonder why their people seem content to complain rather than innovate should take a hard look at their company’s processes to determine whether their culture fosters the freedom people need so they can create.

Related: The Importance of Creativity in the Workplace

Netflix vs. blockbuster

Netflix’s model made Blockbuster obsolete in about ten years. Blockbuster made plenty of mistakes in that time, but arguably, their biggest error was getting too comfortable. There were several times when Blockbuster could have put Netflix out of business (including buying them out for $50 million), but they didn’t. Blockbuster had become the at-home movie rental business leader, and their leadership teams didn’t see the big picture. This failure to embrace a culture of innovation led to their eventual demise.

Netflix, on the other hand, encouraged creative freedom. They gave their employees room to problem-solve, come up with big ideas, and fail. It empowered them to take risks, through guidance and mentorship. Their employees likely felt trusted and valued because of this freedom — and incredible things came from it. As a result, Netflix remains atop its perch as one of the world’s top streaming services.

Managing teams that dream

If you want a team that dreams about how to build the world of tomorrow, focus on freedom. Why has the U.S. historically been ahead of the rest of the world in creating new technologies? One major factor is that our government framework allows independent people to operate in a free market system. Even a century ago, today’s world was beyond imagination, and it was all built by people who dreamed big and had the freedom and opportunity to create something good for humanity.

It’s risky to encourage your people to be problem solvers. Many innovations fail, and failure can be expensive. But failure isn’t a reason not to try, and the leaders who underwrite their people’s failures (when they’re not a result of incompetence) will build a culture of trust.

Employees who feel their leaders trust them can feel comfortable taking risks, and that’s what it takes to invent.

Related: 5 Ways to Inspire Creativity and Innovation in Your Employees

Your people are the key to success

It’s not as easy as just telling your employees to “dream big and innovate.” They need more guidance than that. As leaders, it’s our job to provide the right environment.

For people to innovate, they need a problem to solve — so, start with that. What needs are you trying to meet as a company? Once you identify the problem, your people will succeed — as long as you have fostered a culture of innovation.

It’s critical to ensure your team understands what innovation really is. It’s the application of science and the integration of existing technologies to create something new that the world needs. Understanding this simple concept makes all the difference. As a leader, stay informed on the latest discoveries and breakthroughs, and focus on finding creative ways to integrate them. This is how transformative solutions come to be, and it’s all about the betterment of humankind.

People are the key to any and all success, so find out what makes them tick. What are their personal and professional goals? What will give them purpose? Once you know that, you can start to provide the means to get them there. With experience, you can give them enough focus to see the problem clearly, along with the necessary resources to get them started. Instead of depending on KPIs and data, leaders might see more progress if they embrace their humanity and concentrate on people development instead.

How to foster creativity:

  • Allow your team to be free in thought and expression.

  • Empower your people to own their own destinies.

  • Guide your team with vision, clarity and focus.

  • Never allow management to stall the creative process, especially when they feel threatened by incoming, innovative ideas.

Related: 7 Ways to Help Your Employees Become Better Problem-Solvers

Management isn’t about power

A culture of innovation starts with setting the cornerstones of trust, mentorship and freedom. Managers should provide their teams with a clear objective, the space to perform and a team to rely on. Creative employees feel trusted and in turn trust their leadership because they have been given the tools and support they need to accomplish their purpose, goals and dreams.

We cannot forget the dreams who made us who we are today. Therefore, the world we imagine today is what will be.

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This Earth Day, we’ll be bombarded by brand messages in support of our planet.

While many of these campaigns are well-intentioned, sustainability claims by brands are largely overstated. Research in Europe suggests that more than 40% of green claims from brands were exaggerated.

Meanwhile, customers are more discerning than ever when it comes to brand messaging and they’re likely to pick up on discrepancies. And performative environmental marketing, or “greenwashing,” can have negative impacts on relationships with consumers. In fact, when customers perceive a gap between green messaging and action, customer satisfaction scores decrease.

If that’s not reason enough to be thoughtful about your long-term sustainability initiatives, mitigating the impacts of greenwashing is actually facing legislation in some parts of the world, with fines on the horizon for companies who don’t live up to environmental commitments.

Here are some tips to create long-lasting green initiatives within your brands that you can be proud to promote on Earth Day and beyond.

Related: Why You Need to Build Sustainability Into Your Business Strategy

1. Define sustainability

Sustainability is a nebulous term, and different individuals and brands may have different thoughts about how to define it. For example, I take a broad view of sustainability to include actions that build a better and more connected world. This reaches beyond environmental initiatives to create a culture where environmental and energy concerns can be debated, disparate opinions can be considered and progress can be made. Thus, for me, sustainable initiatives start with the way we speak to each other about the problems facing our world.

Your organization might take a different approach to sustainability, perhaps wanting to offset carbon emissions or being devoted to clean packaging. Whatever your definition, it’s imperative to name it so that you can use it as a beacon for your sustainability goals.

2. Actually analyze your environmental impact

Don’t let your environmental initiatives start in your marketing department. As with all virtue signals, it’s imperative that brands look inside their own organization before stating a value externally. Put another way, before crafting a green marketing campaign, make sure the actions of your business can back it up.

When it comes to environmental sustainability, this means looking at all aspects of your operations, including everything from your packaging to your utilities and partnerships to assess your environmental impact.

Zoom out and look at your industry, as well. How does your industry impact the planet? Can you be a model for change?

3. Make a plan

Once you look at potential waste within your organization and industry, make a plan to improve the areas you can control. Make sure your sustainability goals are specific and measurable. For example, you might decide that you’re going to reduce your reliance on partners that have negative impacts on the environment, switch to more green packaging, or reduce waste within your walls. Whatever your goals, make sure they are measurable and that you have appropriate tracking mechanisms in place to assess progress.

Aligning employee incentives, like perks and bonuses, with sustainability progress can help employees feel valued for making green thinking part of the culture.

If you’re going to be public with environmental campaigns, you should first cultivate a pro-Earth sentiment inside your walls. Develop and share initiatives with employees. Adding sustainability to your organization’s named initiatives and cultivating an organizational culture that supports it will ensure your green marketing efforts ring sincere.

Moreover, when employees are stakeholders in your green initiatives, they’ll be the first to reinforce your planet-friendly brand messaging. Employees are powerful brand advocates.

Related: What Is Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and Why Does it Matter?

4. Report on progress

Whether you track and report your progress internally with your sustainability stakeholders or externally to your board and customers is up to you (and in some cases, your fiduciary obligation), but the important thing is that you track progress against KPIs. What’s measured tends to improve, and this is where the specificity of your objectives becomes important.

For example, if you’ve decided to reduce operational waste, you’ll also need to understand how you’re going to track that. There are software applications that assess organizational sustainability, or you can create systems within your own business. Either way, ensure that you have a baseline and regular intervals to determine progress.

Remember to give yourself time to change long-standing practices. While environmental impact deserves some urgency, it’s important to be realistic about the results that you can achieve so that success can be realized and progress can continue.

5. Now you can focus on marketing

After you’ve cultivated a pro-environment brand inside of your organization, you can begin to plan external campaigns.

As a bonus, you can use your internal initiatives as a jumping-off point. It will signal your genuine care for the environment if you can tap into the internal sustainability culture that you’ve created.

Share case studies on how you’ve achieved progress to add value to the business community as a whole or build a campaign around employee environmental initiatives. When it’s obvious that you’ve done the work internally, your marketing efforts will resonate with audiences authentically and you’ll become a beacon for how organizations ought to behave.

Maintaining the habitability of our shared planet is one of the defining issues of our time and organizations are powerful stewards of change. While celebrating Earth Day serves as an important reminder of our responsibility to our Earth and to each other, a commitment to improving our planet requires action every day.

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You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

EU-India Innocenter, an initiative funded by the European Union’s research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020, is back in India for the second time in six months to promote innovation, sustainability, and growth in key sectors like sustainability, health-tech, logistics, mobility, and deep tech. The EU-India Innocenter’s week-long in-country programme in Hyderabad and Bengaluru from 17- 22nd April, has 8 high-impact European tech startups ready to explore and scale in the Indian market. The programme provides a strategic network of ecosystem facilitators like VCs, potential partners and corporations from India and many European countries, including government representatives from both sides.

“We are excited to be back in India with our selected startups to showcase their cutting-edge solutions and build strategic partnerships. Our goal is to create sustainable, mutually beneficial collaborations between Europe and India. Since 2021, we have matched 40+ European scaleups with more than 280 Indian companies and India- based MNCs, and are grateful to our ecosystem partners for their consistent support to the programme,” said Juliane Frommter, programme head at EU-India Innocenter.

Eight startups have been selected based on their stage of development, annual recurring revenue, growth rate, and distinctive IPs in India. The cohort includes Cast AI, AgeVolt, AEInnova, Spotlite, BOSAQ, Resistomap, Foliomax, and Newborn Solutions. These selected startups participated in the programme’s flagship demo day called the Blue Carpet Night- Showcasing European Innovation, on 18th April at T-Hub Hyderabad, where they pitched to potential customers, business partners, mentors, investors, ecosystem leaders, and government representatives. The event, taking place post G20 Startup20 meet in Hyderabad, aims at deepening collaboration among the EU India startup ecosystem, according to an official release.

“We are delighted to have EU-India Innocenter’s innovative startups showcase their technologies. The programme’s mission closely aligns with T-Hub’s mission of building a catalytic innovation ecosystem. Hyderabad has been instrumental in scaling many successful startups in India, and we are excited to see how these European startups can add value to our market,” said Srinivas Rao Mahankali, CEO of T-Hub.

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The Beatles are one of the most iconic bands in history, known for their groundbreaking music, innovative approach to recording and dynamic personalities. But beyond their musical legacy, The Beatles offer valuable lessons for entrepreneurs looking to build successful businesses. In this article, we’ll explore what entrepreneurs can learn from The Beatles, focusing on their lessons in creativity, playfulness, collaboration and innovation.

1. Creativity

The Beatles were known for their creativity, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible in music. They were unafraid to experiment with new sounds, techniques and ideas, resulting in some of the most innovative music of their time. This creativity was driven by a relentless pursuit of new ideas, a willingness to take risks and a commitment to constantly evolving their sound. The Beatles drew inspiration from other musicians, including early rock and roll artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly, as well as Motown acts such as The Supremes and Smokey Robinson. Later influences include such notable acts as Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys, whose album Pet Sounds would serve as the primary impetus behind The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Entrepreneurs can learn from the Beatles’ approach to creativity by embracing a similar mindset. To build successful businesses, entrepreneurs must be willing to take risks, experiment with new ideas and constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible. Entrepreneurs should also look to other entrepreneurs for inspiration. By staying open to new possibilities and being unafraid to fail, entrepreneurs can tap into their own creativity and unlock new levels of innovation.

Related: 5 Ways to Unlock Your Entrepreneurial Creativity

2. Playfulness

In the 2021 documentary series, Get Back, Oscar-award-winning director Peter Jackson chronicles the making of The Beatles’ 1970 album, Let It Be. The three-part series offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at The Beatles’ creative process. What stands out in their sessions together is their playfulness. Despite being under a tight deadline, the group spends time experimenting with their new songs, often in a seemingly unserious manner, playing cover songs and even recalling songs written from their very early days as teenagers. In his book, Hey Grandude!, Paul McCartney writes, “When you play, you can’t help but be creative. Your mind is freed up to explore new ideas and take risks.” While the world may take The Beatles very seriously, being playful and not taking themselves so seriously helped catapult their creativity.

Like The Beatles, entrepreneurs should embrace a playful mindset and learn to not take themselves too seriously. Instead of approaching tasks with a rigid, serious attitude, try experimenting with new approaches, taking risks and approaching challenges with a sense of curiosity and wonder. The ability to approach tasks with a playful mindset can unlock new levels of creativity and innovation, leading to breakthrough ideas and exciting new ventures. According to Rick Rubin, a music producer known for his work with artists like Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Adele, playfulness is essential to the creative process. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “When you’re playful, your mind is more open to finding creative solutions to problems.”

3. Collaboration

The Beatles’ success was built on their collaboration, both with each other and with other musicians, producers and engineers. They were known for their ability to work together seamlessly, combining their unique talents and perspectives to create something greater than the sum of its parts. This collaboration was driven by a deep mutual respect, a willingness to listen to each other and a shared vision for their music.

Entrepreneurs can learn from The Beatles’ approach to collaboration by fostering a similar spirit of teamwork in their own businesses. By building diverse, collaborative teams and encouraging open communication and mutual respect, entrepreneurs can tap into the collective creativity and intelligence of their teams, leading to greater innovation and success.

Related: Why Collaboration Is Essential to Entrepreneurship

4. Innovation

The Beatles were also known for their innovative approach to recording, pioneering new techniques like multi-track recording, tape looping and backwards recording. They were constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries of what was possible in music, and their innovative approach helped them to create some of the most groundbreaking albums in history.

Entrepreneurs can learn from The Beatles’ approach to innovation by embracing a similar spirit of experimentation and risk-taking in their own businesses. By staying open to new ideas and approaches, entrepreneurs can find innovative solutions to the challenges they face, leading to greater success and growth.

In conclusion, The Beatles offer valuable lessons for entrepreneurs looking to build successful businesses. By embracing the lessons of creativity, playfulness, collaboration and innovation that The Beatles exemplified, entrepreneurs can tap into their own creativity, build collaborative teams and find innovative solutions to the challenges they face. So, take a cue from The Beatles and start pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in your own business today!

Related: Why an Entrepreneur’s Ability to Innovate Will Make (or Break) Future Success

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You’re reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

“Continued growth” was the headline I gave the piece that I wrote after interviewing BEEAH Group CEO Khaled Al Huraimel in 2014, which was a nod to the underlying principle that I felt was driving his ambitions and aspirations for the UAE-born enterprise at that time. Nearly a decade later, as I chatted with Al Huraimel in March this year, I felt like not much had changed in terms of this Emirati executive’s psyche with respect to the business he leads- but I certainly cannot say the same about the company itself.

Under Al Huraimel’s stewardship, BEEAH has undergone a massive transformation in the last couple of years- while it had come into being in 2007 in Sharjah as a public-private partnership company primarily focused on environmental and waste management, it is today a diversified investment holding group with operations in a variety of sectors, as well as a plethora of geographies. As such, its newly opened headquarters in Sharjah -a stunningly grandiose structure designed by the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Zaha Hadid- can therefore be easily seen as a symbol of the striking success that BEEAH has seen so far- but it can also be portrayed as a portent of its wins to come as well. “In the last 10 years, we grew by about 10x,” Al Huraimel says. “And now, we expect to grow by another 10x in the next 10 years.”

Now, as much as BEEAH has changed in the years since it was established, the company’s vision -much like Al Huraimel’s own mindset- hasn’t wavered- it continues to, as its website declares, envision a future built on sustainability, empowered by digitalization. “We’ve been focused on two pillars always- sustainability and digitalization,” Al Huraimel says. “When we started 15 years ago, our aim was to tackle environmental challenges this region is facing, and the first challenge we looked at was waste management. Our region, the GCC, had, at that time, the highest generation of waste per capita in the world- in the UAE, it was about 2.5kg per person, per day. So, we started our journey with the aim to tackle that problem.” BEEAH was founded following a decree from H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, which was how it embarked on a mission to make the city the first in the Middle East to achieve zero waste to landfill, a target that the organization grows closer to every day. Driven by the vision of the Ruler of Sharjah and the UAE’s national sustainability agenda, BEEAH’s innovative waste management efforts already achieved the Middle East’s highest landfill waste diversion rate- over 76%.

Such an achievement has been made possible thanks to BEEAH putting together a state-of-the-art waste management center, which includes a material recovery facility (which processes over 600,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually), a construction and demolition waste recycling facility (which processes over 500,000 tons of this kind of waste annually), as well as a biomass facility (which processes 200 tons of waste daily to generate alternative fuel), among others. Last year, BEEAH inaugurated a commercial scale waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah that is set to divert 300,000 tons of waste from landfills yearly, while producing 30 megawatts of low-carbon electricity- it’s the first facility of its kind in the Middle East, and it is what is expected to push the Emirate to become the region’s first zero-waste city. After reaching this target, BEEAH is then going to repurpose Sharjah’s Al Saja’a landfill into becoming a solar energy farm- the first phase of the project will see it converted into 270,565 sq. m. of solar area with a projected output of 24 megawatts, and the second phase will convert an additional 200,099 sq. m. of solar area to produce 16 megawatts of solar power.

BEEAH Group’s aptitude for leading by example s best showcased at the organization’s new headquarters- designed by the world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, the headquarters redefines the benchmark for green buildings. Source: BEEAH Group

BEEAH has thus been doing some pioneering work in Sharjah, and its achievements in the Emirate have certainly got it noticed, with the company becoming the recipient of several industry awards and international accolades over the years. At the same time, with growth always being a target for BEEAH, such accomplishments have also allowed it to make inroads into new markets as well. Al Huraimel points out here the company had realized quite early on in its journey that Sharjah alone is a comparatively small market for it to tackle, and so, it always had a plan in mind to make its presence felt in other locations as well. BEEAH thus started to secure deals and launch operations in the UAE’s other cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, and Ajman, and this has now made it one of the largest waste management companies in the country. “That being said, we saw this coming years ago,” Al Huraimel interjects. “So, we asked ourselves: how can BEEAH keep growing? We saw two ways in which we could do it: geographic expansion, or diversification. We did both.”

BEEAH started securing non-UAE contracts in 2020. The first of these was announced in January that year, with the company being appointed as the waste management partner for Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC), a new urban development that’s been aimed as an extension of its capital city of Cairo, which will be spread across 71,400 hectares and is expected to house a population of 6.5 million. At the time, the deal was billed as largest waste management contract in the MENA, and BEEAH decided to set the bar high for itself by aiming for an 80% waste diversion rate in the new city. In August that same year, BEEAH was awarded three contracts for waste management in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Madinah, which covered its North, West, and East regions. BEEAH’s services are thus spread over 70% of the city today, with Al Huraimel noting that the company has currently got more than 3,000 of its staff there, all of whom serve a population of 1.2 million people. Last year, BEEAH went on to secure its second contract in Egypt, with it partnering with Green Planet -one of the country’s emerging environmental services company- to deliver waste management and city cleaning services for a period of 10 years in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh, the site for 2022’s Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, aka COP27.

According to Al Huraimel, BEEAH is currently settling itself into the new markets it is operating in, but its growth ambitions aren’t done yet- East Africa is on the cards, he says, as are other promising locations around the world. At the same time, the company has also been pursuing an aggressive diversification strategy, with BEEAH setting up ventures in a number of sectors other than waste management. One of these is Evoteq, “a solutions provider that champions technological innovations and digital transformation,” which BEEAH launched in 2017.

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Artificial Intelligence has been put into use in a lot of BEEAH Group’s operations, including at its waste recycling center. Source: BEEAH Group

Having developed a platform called SmartTrack, a system that allows one to track and trace products from the point of production all the way to the consumer, Evoteq has since adapted its solution for the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention to deploy as Tatmeen, the country’s first track and trace solution for pharmaceuticals. Another of BEEAH’s ventures is, an enterprise that launched in 2021 and currently has two platforms under it: collect, an on-demand solution that connects users to “a verified community of moving and transportation companies,” and market, a virtual marketplace for the buying and selling of recyclables.

Of the two, it’s market that I’d now like to draw your attention to- it was the winner of the B2B Platform of the Year award at Entrepreneur Middle East’s 2023 E-Business Awards, which was in recognition of the platform being able to record over AED100 million worth of trades of recyclable material in 2022. “This year, we expect over AED300 million worth of trade to happen on market,” Al Huraimel says. “We’ve already opened an office in India, and the vision for market is for it to be a global marketplace -the number one marketplace- for trading recyclable commodities, bringing buyers and sellers together, and eliminating the middlemen.”

Much like Evoteq, has been operating as a startup since it launched, which makes its achievements so far no small feat, and the fact that Al Huraimel is proud of both ventures is pretty apparent in the way he talks about them. Their successes also bode well for the prospects of BEEAH’s newest digital undertaking, which is a joint venture with Khazna Data Centers (one of the largest wholesale data center providers in the MENA) to develop and launch the first Tier 3 data center in Sharjah. Its tech ventures notwithstanding, Al Huraimel adds here that BEEAH is also diversifying into new but more traditional sectors like real estate, energy, and healthcare. The first of these is tied to the work BEEAH did to develop its new headquarters in Sharjah- it is, after all, one of the most sustainable and most technologically advanced buildings in the region, and the experience and expertise the company gained while building it has led to the creation of its own real estate arm. Al Huraimel reveals that a real estate development is in the works in the same location as that of BEEAH’s headquarters, with the area set to become “a smart and sustainable district” in Sharjah.

Meanwhile, in the energy sector, BEEAH has already shown what it’s capable of with the launch of its waste-to-energy plant last year; in the works is a waste-to-hydrogen plant, also the first of its kind in the region. While aligning with BEEAH’s zero-waste targets, the plant will also produce fuel cell grade hydrogen in support of zero-emissions mobility in the UAE. Al Huraimel also shares that BEEAH is looking into building a medical district in Sharjah- this will host what he calls “the hospital of the future,” which will be built in partnership with a consortium of Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals from the US. All of what BEEAH is doing now is certainly a rapid evolution from its origins as a waste management company with about 40 people on its payroll- but it is also a testament to the dynamic and visionary outlook with which this business -now with over 13,000 employees- has been led since its start. “It is imperative that future cities and future economies are sustainable,” Al Huraimel says. “Achieving and maintaining sustainability is not possible without technology. I knew that we needed to keep exploring what’s coming next in technology, because that’s going to help us be more sustainable. In our DNA as an organization, it was clear that both sustainability and technology needed to come together in all that we do.”

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Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO, BEEAH Group. Source: BEEAH Group

Al Huraimel’s ethos can thus explain why his company has been ahead of the curve in terms of its interest in and adoption of cutting-edge tech- for instance, the rest of the world might only now be catching up with the potential presented by artificial intelligence (AI), but BEEAH has been working with it for the last few years now. For instance, the technology has, for one, been put to use in robots that segregate waste at its commercial and industrial waste recycling facility, and it’s also been deployed in its command center to track all of its vehicles and advise on the most efficient routes, depending on when bins tagged by radio frequency identification (RFID) indicate they are full and ready for pick up, as well as traffic conditions.

But if one needs a more visible example of AI at work at BEEAH, one needs to only take a look at its beautifully headquarters, operating at LEED Platinum standards. Johnson Controls, “the global leader for smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings,” powers the building with its OpenBlue digital technology, thereby making it the first fully AI-integrated building in the Middle East. As for what this actually translates into: well, for starters, think secure, friction-free access into the building, not just for regular occupants, but visitors as well.

Meanwhile, predictive AI helps control light and temperature based on number of occupants, individual preferences, time of day and, of course, optimizing energy consumption for the highest levels of efficiency. Work is also underway on the OpenBlue companion app, which, when activated in the headquarters, can act as a concierge helping building occupants with everything from locating meeting spaces, to ordering a beverage, or even as a personal assistant for employees to book appointments with their peers, or simply to access news and information. From an operational standpoint, Al Huraimel points out that AI-based tools like ChatGPT are already being made use of by BEEAH’s marketing and comms teams, and he also reveals that he hopes to see such technologies having a more active role in its finance department as well. If it isn’t already clear by now, then let me state for the record that Al Huraimel is obviously the man at BEEAH spearheading its forward-thinking initiatives, and a lot of that has to do with his innate personality as well.

“I think that when I see an opportunity, it just stays in my mind until I do it,” Al Huraimel says, in response to my question about his personal drivers for doing what he does on a day-to-day basis. Such a philosophy would also explain why Al Huraimel has quite a few business interests outside of BEEAH- you see, besides being a seasoned executive who has previously worked at companies like ENOC and Nakheel, he is also a serial entrepreneur with a number of ventures under his belt. One of them is Bait Al Kandora, which Al Huraimel launched in 2015 as the first Emirati designer menswear brand in the UAE, and then went on to become a market leader. There’s also Omada, which is today a full-fledged marketing technology group, as well as Dar Al Aqar Real Estate, which Al Huraimel describes as “a boutique premier real estate advisory and investment and brokerage.”

More recently, Al Huraimel had an active role to play in the 2022 launch of Bedu, which today bills itself as “a Dubai-based digital pioneer that operates at the outer reaches of the Web3 frontier, providing metaverse, blockchain, and non-fungible token (NFT) solutions.” While Al Huraimel says he is typically quite hands-on when it comes to the early days of the enterprises he launches, he is happy to take on a back seat when they come into their own, and then let them have their own leaders, teams, etc. governing them.

This is true of Al Huraimel’s current association with all of the aforementioned ventures, and that is also an indicator of his personal mentalities as a business leader. “I want to see others succeed,” Al Huraimel tells me. “For instance, with Bedu, I have a CEO, and I want him and his team to succeed, and I want to provide them with the and the foundation, then let them run with it. At BEEAH too, now, I want to build the next level of leadership to take charge of the enterprise. BEEAH has grown quite well in the last 10 years, and now for the next 10 years, we want to see much bigger growth; that’s our plan. But this ‘bigger growth’ is not me- I need to develop the next generation of leaders to take BEEAH to the next level. So, if I want to grow by 10 times in the next 10 years, it needs a lot. And so, this year, we’re focusing on spending much more on preparing the next level of leaders to take on whatever challenges lies ahead.” Al Huraimel is thus clearly thinking about the long game at BEEAH. And if the successes he has engineered so far are any indication, then all signs point to a continued trajectory of growth for BEEAH in the foreseeable future- and thereafter as well.

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