Art Entrepreneurship

Art Entrepreneurship

Edited by Mikael Scherdin and Ivo Zander

This pioneering book explores creative and entrepreneurial processes as they are played out in the field of art. Nine original chapters by an international group of scholars take a detailed look at the sources of new art ideas, how they are transformed into tangible objects of art, make their way through often hostile selection environments, and ultimately go on to become valued and accepted by the general public. Making a number of original contributions at the crossroads of art and entrepreneurship, the book speaks to researchers across these fields, practicing artists interested in promoting and gaining acceptance for their work, as well as policymakers concerned with sustained dynamics of the art arena.

Chapter 5: Inviting the Unexpected: Entrepreneurship and the Arts

Stefan Meisiek and Stefan Haefliger

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship


Stefan Meisiek and Stefan Haefliger When a stranger asks for examples of entrepreneurship in your country, isn’t it common to think spontaneously of innovative business ventures? True entrepreneurs, so it is believed, create value when they bring useful novelties to the world; turning inventions into ready-to-ship innovations. They develop and sell products or services that satisfy practical needs and that clients are willing to pay for – a cell phone for communication, a drug against a terminal illness, a search engine for the Internet, and so on. Arguably, this expression of novelty creation is one of the most fascinating and emphasized facets of entrepreneurship. Governments develop policies to foster it for wealth creation, newspapers and business magazines sing its praise, and universities encourage their brightest students to try it. However, in this chapter we argue that to understand entrepreneurship’s involvement with novelty creation scholars may benefit more from looking at the arts than from studying start-up ventures. There is a simple reason for this: the marginalized role of the unexpected. Scholars explain business entrepreneurship predominantly in terms of economic rationality. In this view, entrepreneurs are attentive and react only to those changes in their environment that promise immediate economic payoff. More often than not, the environmental changes are obvious or marginal, providing entrepreneurs only with me-too and niche opportunities. As a consequence, few business entrepreneurs create novelty and most do very well by copying other companies’ processes, products and services (Bhidé, 2000). In some exceptional cases, however, the environment produces unexpected...

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