How can entrepreneurial learning be improved for early-stage creative entrepreneurs? A practitioner research study
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SubjectCreative entrepreneurs; Decision-making; Effectuation; Entrepreneurial learning; Self-efficacy
This research used a practitioner research methodology to explore how entrepreneurial learning could be improved for early-stage creative entrepreneurs in the process of commercializing their ideas. Specifically, this research considered if effectuation, as logic of ‘expert entrepreneurs,’ could be taught to and applied by creative entrepreneurs who otherwise lacked significant entrepreneurial experience. Six participants took part in a hands-on coaching program called Make it to Market, where I played the dual role of researcher and ‘Learning Coach,’ facilitating the program delivery through individual and group coaching sessions. Each of the participants ran their own creative venture and applied the learnings of Make it to Market in real time to their entrepreneurial practice. The coaching sessions were recorded as data over a ten-week period, capturing the entrepreneurial learning process in real time for each participant. The data were analyzed using multiple-case study method, embodying a general inductive approach that resulted in six thematic categories for in-depth analysis of the ‘fit’ of effectuation for creative entrepreneurs. The research findings supported the teaching and use of effectuation among creative entrepreneurs; however, not without adaptations to assist them in how to navigate the early stages of the effectuation process. Consistently, the participants were unable to make commitments with other stakeholders, a key stage in the original effectuation model where entrepreneurial goals transcend from “me” to “we.” A key finding was the necessity to recognize and build upon entrepreneurial self-efficacy early in the process, which can be done through knowledge/skill building and encouraging reflection. An early-stage effectuation model is proposed to overcome these gaps. The research also offers key insights from the perspective of a Learning Coach, including the presentation of a ‘Coaching Wheel’ to help navigate the in-the-moment coaching process. At a high level, this research challenges how best to go about supporting early-stage creative entrepreneurs who’s foray into entrepreneurship may have been ad hoc or unconventional.
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