Changing the script, technology incubators as          tech entrepreneurs social catalyzers         The 1st Annual Confere...
Agenda• Motivation• Literature Review• Research Question• Method & Data• Results• Conclusions                      2
Motivation• Diverse public & private technology entrepreneurship  initiatives have been introduced, BUT, only few are seen...
Literature Review (1/4)• Dominant perspective in entrepreneurship (Shane &  Venkataraman 2000):   • Discovery View: opport...
Literature Review (2/4)• Discovery view is the dominant logic among institutions  involved in entrepreneurship (Honig & Ka...
Literature Review (3/4)• Such traditional view struggles to explain tech-based  entrepreneurship:   • Limited usefulness o...
Literature Review (4/4)• Constructivist view has been proposed as a useful view to  approach this problem (Wood & McKinley...
Research Question• Thus, the constructivist view provides lenses to explore what  role incubators play in entrepreneurs so...
Method & Data• Method:   • Exploratory objective.   • Inductive approach, multiple-case study with technology-based     en...
Results – incubators as context• Observed incubators policies and context differences:   • BarceloTech – Engineering schoo...
Results – general findings• Constructivist view (Wood & McKinley 2010) sheds light on  key processes on tech-based opportu...
Results – context comparison findings (1/2)• BarceloTech activities and policy describe consistent action  logic - discove...
Results – context comparison findings (2/2)• WuxiTech action logic was to rely on entrepreneurs capability  (recruited tal...
Conclusions• Need to enrich entrepreneurship and context research:   • Constructivist view uncovers opportunity emergence ...
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Changing the script, technology incubators as tech entrepreneurs social catalyzers

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Presentation for 1st Annual Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Rouen Business School 11-12 June 2012

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Changing the script, technology incubators as tech entrepreneurs social catalyzers

  1. 1. Changing the script, technology incubators as tech entrepreneurs social catalyzers The 1st Annual Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation “Incubators, Innovation and Regional Development” Rouen – June 11- 12thFerran Giones (1), Zhao Zhou (2), Dr. Francesc Miralles (1), Dr. Bernhard Katzy (2)(1) La Salle (Innova Institute) – Ramon Llull University (fgiones@salleurl.edu)(2) CeTIM - Leiden University (zhao.zhou@cetim.org)
  2. 2. Agenda• Motivation• Literature Review• Research Question• Method & Data• Results• Conclusions 2
  3. 3. Motivation• Diverse public & private technology entrepreneurship initiatives have been introduced, BUT, only few are seen as successful. • Limited understanding on technology entrepreneurship processes. • Observed difficulties for entrepreneurs to describe a-priori objective opportunities in tech-based ventures.• Entrepreneurship scholars suggest two ways to advance the understanding of entrepreneurship process: • Development of alternative theory. • Introduce further contextualization.• Despite these efforts, connection between context, theory development and policy implications remains insufficiently addressed.13/04/11
  4. 4. Literature Review (1/4)• Dominant perspective in entrepreneurship (Shane & Venkataraman 2000): • Discovery View: opportunities are objective, available to all those who can see them (alertness concept). • Opportunity identification as a central piece of entrepreneurship. • Entrepreneurs work by planning (do business plans) and organizing the needed resources to exploit an objective opportunity. 4
  5. 5. Literature Review (2/4)• Discovery view is the dominant logic among institutions involved in entrepreneurship (Honig & Karlsson 2004): • Entrepreneurs aiming to get legitimacy and access resources follow established rules / norms. • Organizations that control resources follow the traditional management objective opportunity logic.• As a result: • Entrepreneurship policies (inspired in the dominant logic) to foster entrepreneurship obtain mixed results: • Differences between low/high tech entrepreneurship results (Shane 2009). • Although, also seen to foster job creation and have positive effects on venture performance (Löfsten & Lindelöf 2002). 5
  6. 6. Literature Review (3/4)• Such traditional view struggles to explain tech-based entrepreneurship: • Limited usefulness of Business Plans (Lange 2007), instead rely on bricolage/improvisation mechanisms. • Opportunities are subjective, till they complete an emergence process to become objective (closer to Creation View).• Need for a theoretical enrichment in entrepreneurship to further explore influence linkages: • Alternative theories to explain opportunity identification (Sarasvathy 2001). • Further exploration of the influence of the context in the early-stages of the entrepreneurship process (Welter 2011). 6
  7. 7. Literature Review (4/4)• Constructivist view has been proposed as a useful view to approach this problem (Wood & McKinley 2010): • Introduces social context (structure) besides the entrepreneur (individual) in the opportunity construction. • Opportunity objectification as a result of a two step social construction process: • Opportunity conceptualization + objectification with knowledgeable peers. • But still in the conceptual level, early-stage theorizing. 7
  8. 8. Research Question• Thus, the constructivist view provides lenses to explore what role incubators play in entrepreneurs social construction of the opportunity.• Do incubators policies influence on the processes of entrepreneur’s opportunity construction? • Are they a constrain due to competing logics between tech-based entrepreneurs logics and the incubator logics? Or a catalyzer of tech- based opportunities? 8
  9. 9. Method & Data• Method: • Exploratory objective. • Inductive approach, multiple-case study with technology-based entrepreneurs (6 cases in total).• Sample: • Entrepreneur cases in telecom (2), electronics (2) and software (2). • 3 in China (WuxiTech) and 3 in Spain (BarceloTech). • Entrepreneur profiles: novice (4) and experienced (2), academic researchers (2) and technology managers (4).• Data collection & analysis: • Interviews and secondary sources collected in 2009-2011 (entrepreneurs and incubators managers). • Stories: from “initial idea” to “objective opportunity”. • Individual case stories and inter-incubator comparison. 9
  10. 10. Results – incubators as context• Observed incubators policies and context differences: • BarceloTech – Engineering school and business partners, from 2001, objective to support tech-venture development. • Observation of a “discovery view” dominant logic: • Evaluate business plans proposals and assess suitability of business idea. • Organize Investor presentations. • Support in R&D grants applications. • Access to low-cost office space upon milestones achievement. • WuxiTech – Program sponsored by regional government, started in 2009, position Wuxi as high-tech cluster. • Activities oriented to attract talent and create entrepreneurial ecosystem: • Initial funding (award) + access to government loan (VC like). • Provision of services to facilitate entrepreneur development: administrative, recruiting, legal, finance advise. • Further funding linked to milestones achievements. 10
  11. 11. Results – general findings• Constructivist view (Wood & McKinley 2010) sheds light on key processes on tech-based opportunity objectification: • Interaction to test viability of the idea with trusted peers. • Peer selection based on past interactions and access readiness. • Sensemaking process, informal and formal, puts in value peers knowledge base to assess opportunity realism.• Cases in WuxiTech and BarceloTech show: • Value of pre-existing networks in conceptualization (as in Newbert & Tornikoski 2010). “talking with an entrepreneur in integrated circuits that I knew from prior research projects” Winet Founder. • Use of consensus building activities to gain legitimacy in uncertain environments (also in line with Institutional theory): “A third party evaluates the technology and raises the confidence level on the idea” Powchip founder. 11
  12. 12. Results – context comparison findings (1/2)• BarceloTech activities and policy describe consistent action logic - discovery view. • Expectation for a business plan and a well defined a priori business opportunity (as described in Honig & Karlsson 2004). • Experience entrepreneurs with contacts in both technology and market fit well with support mechanisms (predictive + plan capability): “it was my previous business partner that insisted on exploring together the changes that internet and digital TV would produce” “we met for over a month to draw our business plan and technological architecture” DigiTV Founder • Novice entrepreneurs with academic background struggled to reach opportunity objectification, migrating partially to more supportive social context to restart the process (move to US / Silicon Valley).• Thus, fit with incubator dominant logic would accelerate the opportunity objectification process. 12
  13. 13. Results – context comparison findings (2/2)• WuxiTech action logic was to rely on entrepreneurs capability (recruited talent) with few rules/norms in how to advance in their entrepreneurship process. • Entrepreneurs benefited from their existing ties with overseas and national networks for opportunity conceptualization and early validation (in line with De Carolis & Saparito 2006): “the information flow within the Silicon Valley, among different networks, communities, allow you easily grasp what is happening out there” Mars Founder “conversations with colleagues, and the experts from Chinese Academy of Science have made me more confident on the viability of my technological concept” Hying founder• Thus, in absence of a dominant logic, entrepreneurs rely on social networking capability & resources to accelerate the opportunity objectification process. 13
  14. 14. Conclusions• Need to enrich entrepreneurship and context research: • Constructivist view uncovers opportunity emergence social process. • Valid perspective to explore uncertain tech-based entrepreneurship.• Incubators policies as constrain or catalyzer: • Need for fit with entrepreneurial profile, in particular in tech-based ventures in incubators with a dominant logic. • Highlights the value of entrepreneur social capital/network in early stages of the opportunity objectification.• Take into account the “social construction” of opportunity: • Provide support to iteration & consensus building processes regardless of lack of a-priori clear opportunity. 14
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