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Vision can be considered as the overarching sense of purpose that drives both current and future endeavours. In both ‘how-to-do’ manuals and academic writings some authors insist that vision is a mandatory requirement for success. This perspective is also supported by the evidence of the activities of some start-up businesses (Ashcroft et al. 2009). From the outset, for example, Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, had the vision of wanting to create skincare products made from natural ingredients, and that testing new products on animals, which was common practice among large manufacturers, could be avoided (Entine 1995).

Witt (1998) opined that the technological entrepreneur often has no well-defined vision at the outset but instead is single-mindedly committed to solving a scientific or technological problem which has attracted their interest. Only once they have either solved or believe they have solved the identified problem is any thought be given to using their solution as the basis for a commercial venture. Only at this latter juncture does an ‘emergent market vision’ develop. Furthermore, this vision often requires revision over time as the entrepreneur gains further understanding of what is involved in the creation and operation of a successful business.

Witt posited that a business conception consists of subjective, sometimes highly idiosyncratic imaginings in the mind of the potential entrepreneur of what business is to be created and how it is to be structured. Because of these cognitive activities, at this stage the business conception will be based upon the entrepreneur’s interpretation of incoming information in relation to the relevance and meaning for the imagined business venture and is largely tacit.

Conversion of the business conception into an explicit framework tends to occur when the entrepreneur is required to communicate their vision to others, such as potential customers and investors (Reid and Roberts 2011). It is this latter group for whom the existence of a vision is critically important, because it provides a framework which permits them to understand the purpose of the new business idea (Dushnitsky 2010). Once the new business is created the vision is also important to the employees. Where the entrepreneurial business is not understood by the employees it is difficult for entrepreneur to create and sustain organisational success. In contrast, where a vision has obvious appeal in terms of the employees’ needs, no great communicative efforts will be necessary to make the employees believe in the overall purpose of the business and their desire to make a positive contribution to ensure success (Reid and Ulrike 2012).

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