In the new world order, risk is the new safe: … So take a plunge, create value, solve problems and rule your world

Abdul-Fatahi Abdulai Kambala (PhD)

The tragedy of life, perhaps, is not your inability to reach your goal but is having no goal to reach. Also, it is not a disgrace to fail to reach the starts as others, but is having no start to reach. However, if you cannot change the larger system to reach the stars, then create your own system to achieve your goal and be the king, prescribe the rules of the game and determine your own income.

Apparently, it is the wish of every parent to educate their children to grow up and find jobs in the market, hopefully in big companies and job done. As a result, almost all university students work hard to get good grades and classes to fair well before employers for the best jobs available in the market. Largely, it is believed to be the safe thing to do, and of course, conforms to conventional Ghanaian wisdom. On the contrary, in the new world order, it is the riskiest thing to do because tens of thousands of qualified graduates are loitering about with no jobs and incredibly not thinking of creating them.

The rules have changed

Gone are the good days when graduates from our traditional universities came out with readymade and well paid salary jobs. Not just that, including other fringe benefits such as: a car, a house, a driver and even a garden boy among other things. In fact, graduates were Kings and Queens to say the least. Nowadays, due to changes in the rules without a corresponding change in the nature and training of our graduate, there are now fighting to be garden boys and drivers of successful people, most of whom are first generation entrepreneurs who have made it right in front of them.

Generally, times have change and even those in full-time corporate employment will confess before you how difficult the system is today and wish they could make it into the private sector and be on their own. Indeed, in the corporate world, jobs are no more guaranteed as technological innovation is rendering humans futile and also to that effect, the longer you stay in a job, the more you become a targets to be fired because longevity is no more a security to be honest. Remember, young ones come in with new ideas, new knowledge and skills and actually render old employees obsolete. I am not going to talk about retirement here, which is the scariest of all and sometimes deadly as we have seen in recent days.

Creativity is the new direction

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Be that it may; there is and always will ever be jobs for humans I must admit at this point. Yet, there will be very few, fewer than we need and the few will without doubt be ones that will require creative minds to create technology and robots to replays humans in the very near future. Therefore, the third industrial revolution places emphasis on creativity and critical thinking among humans of today. Truly, much as I agree technological innovation is the new way, I equally note that it can drive people out of businesses so early adoption of technology is paramount for business survival.

To catch up with time, we must plan and create all the time. For example, entrepreneurs in all industries create their own worlds, their own systems because they cannot change the larger one so that they can determine the rules. Have you tried to create your own system or world, or you are still waiting to change the good old larger system? I do not have any problem with people being followers in the systems but I know there is no credit to it and I encourage you, especially the young graduates with the potential to learn when you follow, again experience and take the mantle of leadership with creativity, purpose and vision.

Technology is an opportunity and not a threat

Certainly, the world is changing and our graduates must not remain victims but the instruments of the technological changes for the third industrial revolution. Today, every developed and those fast growing economies are propelled by technology and therefore ignoring technology will mean a collapse of the system.

Technological innovation should be adopted as early as possible in all spheres of life and strategically to take advantage of it as early as possible and not wait up to maturity stage where competition is stiff and should not remain skeptics or late adopters. More so, there is no need to demonize technological innovation or shy away from it, looking so suspicious all the time in fear of risk. Definitely, technological innovation is an agent of progress and development and behold, individual, societies and nations have developed through technological innovation of late and examples abound.

Risk is in the eyes of the beholder

Risk is often associated with entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs all the time and the issue has always been how entrepreneurs see and mange risk to stay ahead of other people in the market. Well, we need to understand the tendency to take risk and how they accurately assess risk to help improve their decisions. Certainly, strategic decisions taken by entrepreneurs are always risky, new and tricky but how it is conceptualised and perceived depends on the individual assessing the risk and the uncertainty.

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Risk is the same for every market and for everyone, and the determination to act or not to will come from the angle from which each beholder captures it, relates it to circumstances and future consequences. Everyone finds it difficult to pin the consequence of an outcome to a particular result due to incomplete information and inability to determine a mathematical probability which of course is risky.

Nonetheless, both research and experience show that entrepreneurs face the same risk as anyone else and the truth is that they perceive it differently as they may also lack inside information on what they want to do. In earnest, entrepreneurs have a high tendency to ignore past situations, concentrate and favour possible positive outcomes since that is what they always want anyway. Indeed, the questions that guide them are: how high is the risk?

And what are the rewards and consequences given all the complex elements taken into considerations? Surely, we cannot ignore the information processing capabilities and cognitively how entrepreneurs calculate risk. Industry dynamism also informs entrepreneurs’ decisions on risk-taking indicating that they asses risk in a very wide spectrum to identify changes they need to work with and take advantage of. There is also the thinking in different perspective relating other active stakeholders in industry to find out what will happen when a decision is taken.

Above all, entrepreneurs do not just look at the business opportunities and take decisions but also look at external factors to help manage risk in their ventures. For instance, who are the customers and how will they behave? What about competitors, who are they and what will be their responses? Who are penitential partners, and then what are the regulations in place? Also of high significant in risk management are prices, demand and supply situations, all of which offer a broader view of potential challenges ahead.


In brief, entrepreneurs do not necessarily go about seeking risk, but take time to understand how to manage it and move on with in-depth understanding and clarities. Therefore, be an entrepreneur, take a calculated risk and take a plunge for business success to end graduate unemployment.

The author is a consultant in entrepreneurship and business development, and an expert in university-industry interaction and knowledge transfer for innovation. He is also a co-author for two textbooks: Financial Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth in Emerging Nations, and Innovation and Social Capital in Organisational Ecosystems. Email:

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