Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Fall 2013

Voice: Blake Dursteler, Scott Davis, Tim Barney

Three Huntsman School board members critical to the growth of our social entrepreneurship program share their wisdom.

How do you suggest students foster a spirit of innovation in their careers and in their lives?

BD: To me the spirit of innovation connotes we actually view each decision in our lives with new opportunity rather than doing things the same way as we’ve always done them before. This generally means leaving a comfort zone and entering territory where we are at risk. Mitigating risk too much negates the opportunity to create innovative responses to everyday situations in our lives and before we know it opportunity has passed us by because of our fear of what we don’t know. In order to foster a spirit of innovation, we need to excel at working hard and making successful decisions on a daily basis so we are prepared to make changes when the opportunity arises.

TB: I believe the best way to foster a spirit of innovation is to focus on the desired outcome. If you focus on improving the outcome, then you will naturally find new ways to achieve that outcome. If you focus too much on the process, then innovation is frustrated. Identify your desired results, and new ways to achieve those results will naturally flow. Don’t be afraid to do something different. The old adage that if you do things the way you have always done them, don’t expect different results, certainly applies. A true innovator always looks for better ways to accomplish their goals.

What are some guiding principles that anchor your leadership philosophy?

TB: I think the most important attribute a good leader can have is to be a good listener. If you listen carefully to those around you, it is much easier to understand what truly motivates them. Once you identify how to truly motivate someone else you can put processes and procedures in place that will allow them to flourish. Be humble and realize that by listening to others the final product will always be better.

SD: A good leader is also a good follower. And a good leader is always willing to take on ALL the tasks he or she asks others to do. Empathy is another character trait a good leader develops. I’ve been impressed watching Matt Wells’ ability to motivate, encourage and teach our football players without berating or bullying them. Learn tough love as a way to lead those you work with.

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

What does “Dare Mighty Things” mean to you?

BD: Dare Mighty Things simply means to me taking advantage of opportunities and ideas without knowing completely the outcomes. Not that we should just blindly follow everything that presents itself to us. But rather, that we should be prepared to do things others think are not a good idea.

SD: Take advantage during your university experience of the wide variety of subjects you can study while at Utah State. Don’t be like I was – locked into my social science major, and not willing to venture into other subjects, if only to get a feel for what else is out there. Your ability to foster outside-the-box thinking and innovation will come from your willingness to diversify and broaden your studies and your interests.

TB: I think “Dare Mighty Things” means to not be afraid to take risks. If you have confidence in yourself, almost all risk can be mitigated. I have never accomplished anything of value in my life without taking some kind of a risk. This does not mean that you should jump into anything that comes along. However, if you find you are passionate about something, don’t be afraid to take risks to help make your dreams become reality.