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Effectuation Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise

Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise

  • New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Saras D. Sarasvathy

To effectuate is to engage in a specific type of entrepreneurial action. It has special importance for situations where the future is truly unknowable or human agency is of primary importance. In Effectuation, Saras Sarasvathy explores the theory and techniques of non-predictive control for creating new firms, markets and economic opportunities.
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Chapter 11: Teaching Effectuation

Saras D. Sarasvathy


11. Teaching effectuation I have taught effectuation in a variety of formats ranging from one-day executive education to 7-week, 10-week and 15-week graduate and undergraduate courses. An 8-page introduction to effectuation is also being used in over a dozen business schools around the world; and I have shared my experiences with some of those who have used it. In this chapter I outline some experiences and challenges of teaching effectuation. 11.1 TWO TOOLBOXES I do not teach effectuation as the only way to do entrepreneurship. Instead the course is built around the notion of two toolboxes – causal and effectual – and how to use them effectively in the creation of new ventures. Like most entrepreneurship instructors, I use case studies, in-class exercises, interactive lectures, video clips from entrepreneurs and others, and guest speakers from the entrepreneurial community including early-stage lawyers, angels, accountants, brand consultants etc. One difference is that all my course materials, pedagogical devices and in-class discussions revolve more around the students’ own new ventures than on general theories or best practices. This is the first and most important challenge of teaching effectuation. 11.1.1 Who You Are, What You Know and Whom You Know Versus Opportunities I insist students start with a new-venture idea the very first (or latest, by the second) day of class and that they immediately start building it. This is a startling and uncomfortable notion for most students. A discussion on making versus finding an opportunity is...

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