Hope in Hack-for-Humanity

When Professor Mike Grandinetti first realized that students need to be more aware of the business realities happening throughout the world, he decided to have a Hack-for-Humanity Hackathon. According to him, to hack is to “create a quick solution to a problem.” The other word, he mentions, is marathon, which he defines as “a fast-paced demo.” With this coinage, hackathons accelerate innovations, lending humanity the ability to propose groundbreaking solutions with the right guidance and motivation. Having supervised several Hackathons for many years, Prof. Grandinetti believes that solutions come from intense brainstorming breakthroughs with optimistic collaborations.

Read the full post here

Discover your Dark Side

Facebook,  Apple, Yahoo!, GE and Bernard Madoff firm have had successful leaders, but like anyone, they have a negative nuance.

Discover which one are you and how can you improve.

INSTRUCTIONS: Mark the answers with which you most identify. Check your results at the end. Be honest.

1. Which word identifies you the best?

A. Competitiveness
B. Meticulousness
C. Freedom
D. Control
E. Ambition

2. What are you willing to do to achieve your goals?

A. Assume the responsibilities that concern me and show my authority.
B. Consider all the available options and carefully choose the best.
C. Create an atmosphere of confidence and give my team all the freedom they need.
D. Take care of the process and focus in every single detail.
E. Whatever it takes. I always get what I want.

3. What do you need to be successful?

A. To do something different.
B. Focus on excellence.
C. Take the initiative before anyone tells me.
D. Take care of the process and be the best in everything.
E. Be willing to step on anyone.

4. Which quote identifies you the most?

A. “Face reality as it is”.
B. “If there is a better path, find it”.
C. “If nobody realizes you are not there, you triumphed”.
D. “I’m not a control freak, I’m organized”.
E. “Let the others screw”.

5. Which is your most frequent mistake?

A. Been authoritarian and avoid listening opinions.
B. Hesitate to take decisions.
C. Delegate everything.
D. Do not trust your team and generate unnecessary stress.
E. Lack of sensitivity and difficulty to differentiate between good and bad.

6. How do you face failure?

A. Over time, I’ve learned that mistakes are as good teachers as success.
B. I meditate until I realize that I did not consider enough other options.
C. It makes me happy that at least I tried.
D. I could did better but I’m capable enough.
E. I shrug. There is always possibility for revenge.

7. What sentence describes the best your relationship with bosses and colleagues?

A. I like to lead and achieve challenging goals.
B. You can only achieve perfection if you get out of your comfort zone.
C. I hate being above anyone, although I enjoy to lead.
D. I like to know about everything and I care of every single detail.
E. There is nothing better than being the boss.

8. This is the most common complaint I receive from my collaborators:

A. I don’t give them enough autonomy.
B. I ask for so many changes.
C. Lack of feedback and follow up.
D. I like to control them.
E. My lack of sensitivity to their needs.

9. What do you think about horizontal leadership?

A. Hierarchies exist for a reason snd we shouldn’t break them.
B. It depends on the industry.
C. Is the best.
D. There should be filters always.
E. I don’t care as long as I can meet my goals

10. You dislike:

A. People who complain.
B. Taking quick decisions.
C.  Lack of initiative.
D. If I can’t handle the situation.
E.  If I don’t get what I want.

Count your answers and discover your dark side, which successful leader are you and what areas of opportunity you can improve.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.54.39 AMMOST OF A’s: The despot.

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was one of the leaders that contributed the most to grow the company. However, he had an authoritarian model of work.

You don’t let your team develop. You need to turn around and share your knowledge with your subordinates.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.54.58 AMMOST OF B’s: The purposeless.

You are very analytical, but if you question everything it generates stress on your team. Sometimes a leader must take strategic decisions and often, quickly. It is something that Tim Cook has been fighting in Apple since the death of Steve Jobs.


Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.55.15 AMMOST OF C’s: The absent.

Like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, you empower people. Although during hard times your employees may feel that they can’t rely on you. It’s good to delegate, but you must learn to support your team.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.55.35 AMMOST OF D’s: The micromanager.

You focus on the process and to you like explain what to do and how to it. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! has been mentioned by the press as a micromanager. She accepts it. That is the first step, the second could be start releasing the pressure.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 2.55.50 AMMOST OF E’s: The ambitious.

You’re the kind of leader that companies will have to fire.  Ambition is a mandatory for a leader, but you must stop believing that can achieve your goals by stepping on anyone. The banker Bernard Madoff ended up in jail because that.

Original article published by CNN Expansión México, Andrea C. Dietiker and Carmen Murillo. Mike Grandinetti, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Global Discipline, Innovation and Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School. Jorge Llaguno, Professor of Human Factor at IPADE. Ricardo Lozada, coordinator of the Organizational Psychology UNAM. Juan Ignacio Pérez, partner-in-charge at Heidrick & Struggles Mexico.

Disruptive Innovation is Required to Transform Healthcare

Will disruptive entrepreneurship transform healthcare?

Hacking Health and Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM) hosted a digital healthcare leadership forum (May 2015) and attracted a full house, with audience members with research, industry, and clinical backgrounds. The event featured a panel of speakers and was moderated by Michael Grandinetti, a person of many talents who is a serial entrepreneur, advisor to venture capitalists and start-ups, and Managing Director of StartUp Boston and Managing Director of ProtoHack Boston as well as Global professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Hult International Business School.
Michael began by providing an overview to the state of healthcare, and talked about challenges facing consumers-as-patients. He noted that one of the biggest flaws of the current healthcare system is that medical communities only make money when someone is ill. As he put it, “The system is broken… the incentives are upside down”.

How can we move forward?

The international startup marketplace may offer inspiration with projects such as:

Embrace: a highly cost-effective infant incubator

Sproxil: uses mobile technology to combat counterfeit medicines

These initiatives provide preventative healthcare resources that is accessible to many and reduces the unnecessary burden of disease.

A video of Mike’s keynote speech can be found here:

Panel discussion with physician-entrepreneurs

Further inspiration was provided by the panel discussion with three former physicians who are now entrepreneurs:

Mike Grandinetti: Moderator

John Reeves: digital marketer and innovator

Omar Shaker: consultant and co-founder of Health 2.0 (Cairo)

Alexis Theriault: consultant and co-founder of CureBox

John began by stating, “I think doctors rock. The system is not broken. Having a surgery which gives you 15 years of life is a miracle”.

Omar considered this point in the context of workflow optimization, saying, “It is everything around this miraculous moment of surgery that needs to be improved – the paperwork, the administration – this is where the issues lie”.

Digital technology may replace up to 80% of what doctors’ administrative tasks while allowing them to focus on what matters: the science and art of medicine.

Michael asked, “Can you compare and contrast being a doctor and being an entrepreneur?”

Omar: “You lose control when you into entrepreneurship, in medicine you can have certain expectations…”

Alexis: “Going into the commercial sector is very hard… you may have 29 ideas, and someone else will have 125. Business is organic, different than medicine which is very concrete because I can really get to +know my patients inside out”

John: “Industry is a critical partner for all innovators”

Michael asked if the panelists had any advice for Québec entrepreneurs and they responded:

“Have humility when you go into business, be around people who are better than you… Invest in time rather than resources to understand what works here…”

For many doctor-entrepreneurs, the book is not written. They are applying knowledge as they go along. The story remains to be told.

The panel discussion was followed with presentations by PetalMD and OMSignal, two Québec startups that are…

Overcoming pain points in healthcare

Petal MD is a networking app featuring productivity tools for healthcare professionals. Physicians can use PetalMD to engage in tasks such as collaborative scheduling continual medical education, document-sharing, and secure messaging.
The founder, Patrice Gilbert, reflected on how far the company has come since it was founded “Four years ago, it was almost impossible [for entrepreneurs] to work in clinical settings – we could be kicked off the hospital premises”. The medical culture is changing slowly but surely as technology and inter-professional collaboration becomes a part of many clinicians’ workflows.

In terms of the evolution of a healthcare company, he remarked, “We can do a lot of innovation so long as there is the human ingredient such as data scientists, designers, subject matter experts, mobile gurus, and an executive team”.

OMsignal is bio-sensing apparel company that has turned fitness clothing into connected devices that can track the user’s bodily states.

Health Data Sensors and the Internet of Things
The co-founder, Stephane Marceau, explained that asking people to enter data about their heart rate, ECG levels, and so on is pain point, but one which had a solution. In a few years from now, smart apparel may very well become the norm.

Regarding OMsignal’s approach – and success – Stephane emphasized, “The customer has a set of emotions, we have to work from that… You need to access real buyer engagement to create products that can draw deep signals”.

Design thinking is a crucial part of this process even if entrepreneurs don’t always understand this approach.

This event showcased the many ways that extraordinary innovation is occurring in the healthcare industry, in Québec and beyond.

As Michael put it,

“Design thinking, patient journeys, raising capital – this is the challenge of healthcare startups. I can’t imagine a more exciting journey that can be taken. We have the tools… everything is in place to transform healthcare to be the system we want it to be.”

This Conference summary was created by Hacking Health Montreal in advance of the International Startup Festival, where I will give a talk on Disruptive Business Models on Thursday 16 July, 2015.

Does an MBA Really Make Sense for an Aspiring Entrepreneur


To get the lowdown on the value of a business degree for entrepreneurs, we caught up with Mike Grandinetti, professor of entrepreneurship, innovation, management and marketing at Hult International Business School.

Mike was an obvious candidate as our go-to guy for advice on this topic. He’s one of Hult’s most popular lecturers, and has won numerous awards for teaching excellence. But he’s also an accomplished entrepreneur who, since beginning his career as an engineer in Silicon Valley, has been involved in the formation of seven advanced technology startups and helped lead five venture-backed startups to successful exits, including two NASDAQ Stock Market IPOs.

In addition to teaching at Hult, he is a faculty member at the MIT Enterprise Forum Smart Start program, and a senior lecturer at the Technical University of Denmark and speaks about entrepreneurship and innovation on the TEDx circuit.

BENTO: So, Mike, you probably hear the argument that ‘real’ entrepreneurs don’t go to Business school a lot. What’s your view?

GRANDINETTI: Well, I’d agree in the sense that entrepreneurship can’t be learned in the same way as traditional MBA subjects like accounting or finance. The Nike motto, “Just Do It,” is pretty good advice for entrepreneurs. You want to be an entrepreneur? The only way to learn how is by doing it—doing it and failing and then doing it again until you finally get it right.

I think an MBA can help. But I tell students to look for programs where faculty are experienced entrepreneurs themselves, and, ideally, current practitioners. Students should seek out programs where they’ll have opportunities to roll up their sleeves and create new ventures, whether that’s through new student ventures and pitch competitions, on-campus “hackathons” or consulting projects for other startups.

“Remember, working for a startup isn’t just a job. It’s a serious lifestyle choice.”

At school, students should sign up for practical electives to learn about current methodologies such as design thinking, lean startup and raising capital.

Many MBA programs now have on-campus startup accelerators for both students and alumni—and some have seed capital funds that invest in student ventures. In Boston, the DormRoomFund, capitalized by an institutional venture capital firm, has student representatives on 12 research university campuses in the area, including MIT, Harvard, Northeastern and Tufts. They make $20,000 seed investments in promising student ventures. Stanford has the StartX Fund for its student entrepreneurs.

Students should try to get as much exposure as possible to entrepreneurs, especially those of their own generation, as well as venture capital and angel investors. They should try to meet entrepreneurs and investors who come as guest speakers in class or participate in on-campus entrepreneurship student club events—wherever they can find them. They should also get off campus regularly and attend venture-centric meet-ups and other events to get a feel for how the local startup ecosystem functions. There’s a better chance of making those kind of connections at campuses located in established global innovation clusters—Boston/Cambridge, the San Francisco Bay area/Silicon Valley, London, Berlin or Singapore.

Social entrepreneurship is a rapidly emerging field. Many of the same arguments apply. I actually think getting a degree is one of the most effective ways to be exposed to this domain.

And don’t forget, business schools are a great place to meet co-founders and start your venture. Some amazing companies were launched on business school campuses by student co-founders: Airbnb (Rhode Island School of Design), Microsoft, Facebook and Rent the Runway (Harvard Business School), Warby Parker (Wharton School), GrubHub (University of Chicago), Uber (Stanford) and Akamai (MIT).

BENTO: What are some of the most common mistakes business students make in planning for entrepreneurial careers?

GRANDINETTI: Well, you know, students can be swayed by what’s in popular media. So many have an overly glamorized view of what it means to be an entrepreneur. They underestimate how hard it is—how heavily the odds are stacked against any single venture, the extraordinary level of commitment and sacrifice required to get a business off the ground. I tell students to remember working for a startup isn’t just a job, it’s a serious lifestyle choice.

BENTO: So what advice do you have for students who are looking for professional experience before starting their own ventures?

GRANDINETTI: The best professional experience is one that’s directly relevant to the job you aspire to. So, if you want to start a company, one of the best experiences you can have is to work in someone else’s startup first and learn from them. A lot of students tell me they want to get experience working for a big firm first before starting their own venture. But my view is that, with a very few noteworthy exceptions, working for a large global company will not be of much value to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur. More often than not, working for a big global firm tends to be a detriment to future success as an entrepreneur. It’s not that working for a big company is a bad thing. It’s just that the differences between big companies and startups—in corporate culture, velocity, performance expectations—are vast. In general, my advice is: if you want to work at a startup, start at a startup. There will be far more room for growth there—more chances to have a significant role, bigger responsibilities.

BENTO: You mentioned “hackathons.” What’s up with those? What are they and why are they so popular?

GRANDINETTI: A “hack” is a quick, creative, but maybe inelegant solution to a problem or limitation. A “hackathon“ is a mashup of the terms “hack” and “marathon.”

Hackathons have quickly emerged as key places for networking, job recruiting, pitching and in many cases, winning cash for your startup. For example, awarded a $1 million prize to a team that came up with the most innovative solution to a challenge it issued. Kleiner Perkins, the big venture capital firm, sends partners to about 20 collegiate hackathons a year.

Recruiters and startups use hackathons to see which students thrive in a chaotic environment that models the dynamic of a startup. For students, hackathons offer a “test drive”—the chance to experience the intensity of working for a startup before committing to a job.

Last year, the world’s largest organizer of hackathons, UP Global, delivered 1248 StartupWeekend hackathons in 568 cities across 112 countries worldwide, with 105,000 attendees. This year they figure the number will rise to 1800 hackathons with many student participants. University–specific hackathons are now a big part of the tech startup scene, with over 150 intercollegiate hackathons expected to be held on US college campuses in 2015 according to Major League Hacking, the “NCAA of Hackathons.”

BENTO: So what’s a hackathon like?

GRANDINETTI: Well, typically they run from Friday night through Sunday night, and are designed around small teams who gulp Red Bull and Starbucks while working together to find quick solutions, often by writing software applications. At the end of the weekend, judges circulate and review each team’s “hacks” to pick winners.

For MBA students who don’t have technical backgrounds, or have not yet attracted technical co-founders, non-coding hackathons like Protohack offer a less intense experience. Protohacks are 12-hour events that allow teams to develop prototypes without writing computer code. Instead they use “drag-and-drop” editors, mock-up tools and wireframes to approximate the rapid prototyping common to more traditional hackathons.

“Business schools are a great place to meet co-founders and start your venture.”

BENTO: So what about “accelerators”? What are they, and what should students know about them?

GRANDINETTI: An “accelerator” is designed to accelerate the market traction of a startup. The first two accelerators were founded in 2005 and 2006: Y Combinator started in Boston, and Techstars started in Boulder, Colorado. Now accelerators are a global phenomenon.

There are a variety of different business models for accelerators. The most common involves selecting a small number, typically about ten, through a highly competitive application process. Winners are hosted for 90-120 days “in residence” with their cohort, and get intense mentorship from entrepreneurs and angel investors who push them to achieve market validation fast. In exchange for this access to mentors and investors, the startups are typically required to sell approximately five to seven percent of their equity for an investment of between $50,000 and $150,000. At the end of the program, there’s a “Demo Day,” where entrepreneurs share their progress with the local investment community.

With top-tier accelerators, hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalist attend. Many view this as the first rung on the venture capital ladder. The leading accelerators are now very hard to get into.

There are also “pre-accelerator” programs like StartupNext, created by both Google for Entrepreneurs and Startup America. In just a year, StartupNext has helped place over 40 global ventures into top-tier accelerators.

Worldwide, there are at least 1500 accelerators. The best ones have a universally established track record of success. The latest trend is toward more industry-centric accelerators, from Hacking Health in Montreal and Rock Health in the Bay Area, to energy accelerators such as SURGE in Houston, the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator in San Diego, the Mobility Automotive Tech Accelerator in Detroit, and the LearnLaunch Education Technology Accelerator in Boston. Notable non-US accelerators include Startupbootcamp and Seedcamp, which are pan-European in scope. There is also MassChallenge in London, EISP8200 in Israel, Start-Up Chile in Santiago, Joyful Frog in Singapore as well as Techstars in Berlin. Well-known graduates of accelerators include Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe and Next Big Sound.

BENTO: So, bottom line, if I know I want to work at a startup or launch one of my own, is investing all the time and money on a business degree worth it?

GRANDINETTI: Yes, if you are purposeful in taking advantage of all of the resources and connections available to you, in the classroom, on campus, in extracurricular activities and in the startup ecosystem where you are studying. I’ve seen many of my students grow remarkably during their time in business school. Many are now well on their way to launching and growing exciting, innovative startups in San Francisco, Boston, London or other cities around the world.


This interview first appeared in the Hult International Business School Online Publication, “Hult Bento”