(see synergy and other terms in our glossary

  • This invented word reverses the literal meaning of 'entrepreneur' in order augment the vocabulary

The Word 'Entrepreneur'

One White Bit Noun Risk 3382202

  1. Richard Cantillon created the term around 1730.
    • Literally, it can be understood as the process of taking from between
  2. Given the name he chose, it is surprising that he described entrepreneurship as a risk-taking activity.
  3. The economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) later characterised it more in terms of planning.
    • i.e. "one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediatory between capital and labour".
  4. It is remarkable that the concept of taking has come to seem normal, within the current economic order.

Normalising the act of 'Taking'

One White Bit Noun Stealing Money 2081308

  1. In the late 20th century, Mrs Thatcher characterised entrepreneurship as the ability to generate wealth. 
  2. Some associate entrepreneurship with exploitative or predatory models of business. 
  3. Despite the recent idea of social enterprise we still tend to focus on the financial, rather than the creative aspects of risk and innovation.

What 'Entrepreneur' Means - Literally

  1. The term is made from 2 old French words 

preneur- taker and  entre - between 
which meant (literally) 'taking from between'.

  1. It implies the combination of several (existing) things.
  2. This is a very synergistic idea, potentially. 

Reclaiming 'Give and Take'

One White Bit Noun Trade 3971631

  1. In reality, it is hard to embark on any enterprise that is EITHER exclusively selfish, OR exclusively altruistic.
  2. By introducing this word (in 1990) I hoped it would encourage a more realistic model of creative transaction.

Making Enterprise Manifold

  1. The singular model implied by the term (from the French) 'taking from between' is not so useful, as it appears to be predicated on creating ONE innovation (see manifold abundance)
  2. We can re-invent invention to make it do more good for more recipients.  

The Entredonneur

  • My term 'entredonneur' (Wood, 1990) was not intended as a clear criticism of 'enterprise' itself.
  • Nevertheless, offers an invaluable practical counterpoint to it, as it replaces 'taking' with 'giving'.
  • The most extreme idea of 'taking' is as unlikely as an extreme idea of pure 'giving'
  • However, by placing the two at opposite ends of a continuum we are better able to map the transition from one to the other
  • It may help us to identify how business, and other modes of enterprise, might be re-envisioned
  • It implies a less wasteful mode of living within an (inevitable) solar economy
  • In theory, at the macro level, tendencies to 'pure greed' may balance the will to 'pure altruism'
  • With better mapping techniques we might be able to replace this struggle with a reciprocal form of altruism.

Wood, J., (1990), "COMMENT: The Socially Responsible Designer", Design Magazine, July 1990
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