Annals in Entrepreneurship Education series
Edited by Michael H. Morris
Chapter 10: Design-centered entrepreneurship: a process for designing opportunities
Shane and Venkataraman (2000) assert that the domain of entrepreneurship at its essence is based on how people pursue opportunities. Previous work examining the opportunity phenomena include Schumpeter’s concept of ‘creative destruction’ (Schumpeter, 1942: 81–86), Kirzner’s emphasis on entrepreneurial alertness (Kirzner, 1997; Shane, 2003) and the idea that opportunities are created by the entrepreneur’s actions (Aldrich and Ruef, 2006). These landmark studies are descriptive of where opportunities come from and what entrepreneurs typically do in pursuing them. While useful in better understanding the opportunity phenomenon, a new line of prescriptive research is being developed that offers guidelines in how entrepreneurs should pursue opportunity. The premise of prescriptive research is that while we may gain knowledge on what entrepreneurs typically do, might there be better ways they could pursue opportunity if they were taught a different way? The two leading prescriptive models are systematic search and effectuation. Systematic search is not a theory of how entrepreneurs find and exploit business ideas, rather it is an empirically tested system that produces superior results when compared to unconstrained search (Fiet, 2002, 2007; Fiet et al., 2007; Fiet, Piskounov and Patel, 2005). That is, systematic search is a theory of what entrepreneurs should do, rather than an explanation of what they do do. Systematic search is a pre-business guide to idea discovery.
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