This book presents readers with the opportunity to fundamentally re-evaluate the processes of innovation and entrepreneurship, and to rethink how they might best be stimulated and fostered within our organizations and communities. The fundamental thesis of the book is that the entrepreneurial process is not a linear progression from novel idea to successful innovation, but is an iterative series of experiments, where progress depends on the persistence and resilience of the individuals involved, and their ability and to learn from failure as well as success. From this premise, the authors argue that the ideal environment for new venture creation is a form of “experimental laboratory,” a community of innovators where ideas are generated, shared, and refined; experiments are encouraged; and which in itself serves as a test environment for those ideas and experiments. This environment is quite different from the traditional “incubator,” which may impose the disciplines of the established firm too early in the development of the new venture.
Featuring case examples of start-ups across a wide spectrum of industries, from Wikipedia to Ryanair, the authors explore the qualities of successful innovation, including a high tolerance of risk and unpredictability and commitment to building knowledge enterprises that value intangible assets. This volume is a clarion call to those in academia, enterprise, and government who seek to work together to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, with a stark message for academic institutions: engage or be left behind.