Exploring Entrepreneurial Thinking and Action
Edited by Frederic Bill, Björn Bjerke and Anders W. Johansson
Chapter 7: Innovation, Creativity and Imitation
Anders W. Johansson INTRODUCTION In this chapter it will be argued that entrepreneurship discourse is highly influenced by the idea that innovation and creativity is separated from imitation in a hierarchical pattern. According to this discourse a few innovators are the most valuable for the society – and imitators in a descending order appear in greater and greater masses as less and less valuable for the change of society the further down in the hierarchy of imitators they appear. This discourse serves to prevent the mobilizing of entrepreneurship in the sense that it does not encourage ordinary individuals to contribute to societal change, unless they behave creatively. The deconstruction of this aspect of the dominating entrepreneurship discourse is therefore a mission in itself as it raises an awareness of what may prevent ordinary men and women from becoming entrepreneurial. It will be argued that creativity and innovation is a life necessity. There is a basic human tendency to imitate others at the same time as coming up with personal variations of such imitation. To increase innovation and mobilize entrepreneurship in the society might therefore not be a matter of finding men and women with creative talents or of training people in creativity only. It is rather a matter of allowing and encouraging the fundamental capacity every man and woman has to combine creativity and imitation without stressing the first (Ricoeur, 1984). Imagine a ski jumping hill like the big one in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You stand at the top of the hill with...
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