The role of serendipity in (entrepreneurial) innovation

The role of serendipity in (entrepreneurial) innovation

Background:
Although a foundational premise of strategic management is causation, seminal contributions to management scholarship have explicitly referred to chance as an explanation for performance differences between individuals and organizations. (Liu & de Rond 2016) A concept that has been introduced to resolve this tension is serendipity which is defined as "the ability to recognize and leverage or create value from unexpected information" (Napier & Hoang Vuong 2013). The reason why it has been overlooked so far can be explained by its intrinsic paradox: "While being perceived as valuable, it is at the same time elusive, unpredictable and – at least at first sight – not subject to either the understanding or the resultant control that would enable it to be 'used' as a conscious information-seeking strategy." (Foster & Ford 2003)

Research aim:
The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the role of serendipity in individual innovation processes.

Methodology:
Your task is to conduct qualitative (narrative) interviews with innovators about the role serendipity has played in their innovative endeavour - these innovators can theoretically be framed from different angles: (social) entrepreneurship, user innovation, frugal innovation etc.

Requirements:

  • Above-average course achievement
  • Advanced skills in English (written and spoken)
  • Strong dedication and autonomy

Start:
as from now (or upon request)

Contact:
Please make yourself familiar with the background literature as listed below and send your request including academic record and CV by mail to:
daniel.kruse@tuhh.de

Literature (as a starting point):
Dew [2009]
Napier & Hoang Vuong [2013]
Liu & de Rond [2016]